Filtering by Tag: BHA


Sure, 2016 had some downs, some outs, and some heavy losses, but WE'RE ALIVE.  That's worth a LOT.  As a group, we can't wait to dive into 2017.  Our last show of 2016 (last week) was a true blast.  Friends and family came out, we found some great music supporters in the community that want to help BHA grow.  So, we've been hunkering down, working on the finishing touches of the album, with most of the layout already to go.

We're itching to get the new songs onto it, and we just might... ...without slowing the process down.  We do have to do some tracking, for our contribution to pAt mAcdonald's VOL.III tribute disk.  We're tackling our second Timbuk 3 track from his past.  We brought "I Need You" to new sonic heights for VOL. II, and had so much fun toying with it, we re-recorded an entirely different version of it that we are also submitting for the third installation towards this american under-the-radar songwriter on the same level as the greats.

We do want to thank YOU for listening, caring, loving, and living.  Most importantly, for taking the time in your busy day, life, and mind, to enjoy our music.  We hope you find joy and inspiration in our sounds.  I know for me (and us) i find much relief in making this music in the studio, and live.

Once again, we thank you, and are honored to get your ears.  Happy Holicraze.

Barrett's Hidden Agenda

Barrett's #Songfamily Strikes again!

Every 4 months or so, Barrett disappears to "Spin-the-bottle" songwriting construction zone at The Holiday Music Motel, in historic Sturgeon Bay, WI.  As the entrance to the Door County peninsula, Sturgeon Bay is a meeting point of the ship working industry, arts hub, and tourist town.  In the dead of winter it seems sleepy, but don't be fooled!  Behind most barroom doors are musicians worth listening to.  Wednesday at Butch's (Local #333 Musicians Non-Union), Thursday at the Tambourine Lounge (Songwriters Night) and regular entertainment from all over Wisconsin and the Mid-West cover the weekends at Brick Lot, Red Room, and the like.  The Holiday Music Motel is seemingly the center piece of this scene.  After saving the bridge into town (Steelbridge Songfest) they've continued to host and expand these songwriting week long writing and recording sessions.  This "Love on Holiday 5" was Barrett's seventh songwriting festival.  Participating as a writer, multi-instrumentalist enabler, and audio engineer - there's no part of this social, communal, creative environment he doesn't thrive in.  These fests have yielded Barrett's Hidden Agenda staples such as "Blood in the River" and "Dumb Down."  At this point, the back log of tunes from these fests could create it's own record for the band to put out, honoring the fests, songs co-writers, and creative director of the events: pAt mAcdonald.  He wouldn't be running these fests without melaniejane, an amazing talent in her own right, but together as "purgatory hill" they raise the bar of stomp, swampy, character fueled, blues based rock that takes you back to Robert Johnson, and forward to uncharted waters.  Needless to say, Barrett is recharged from a week in the sun (Phoeniz, AZ) and a week in below zero temps (Sturgeon Bay, WI) and is charging forward with the next phase for the BHA story.

Barrett's bottle spins yielded 2 drastically different tunes.  With Jerod K and Nici Pepper a female mantra empowerment opus was composed in a Fela Kuti style, "Hoja Mwili."  Meaning 'move your body' in Swahili, it was drawn out of an art piece by Jeanie Kuhns.  The other, also with Jerod K, but with Matt Spotal, an 'on the edge' love song, "Gonna Fill Your Hole" was written.  pAt's comment was it's very funky, but Frank Zappa-esque.  More than likely, "Hole" will wind up in the BHA setlist, as it's quite the jam.  Besides the joy of creating and layering with the talent pool at hand, an honor was bestowed onto both tracks - closing out the Friday night(Gonna Fill Your Hole) and Saturday night (Hoja Mwili) live performances of the songs composed during the week at Third Ave. Playhouse.

If you haven't already, book yourself a room for Steelbridge Songfest 11, June 9-12 in Sturgeon Bay, WI, DO SO NOW!  You won't regret it, and you'll blown away by the community and the music, some of which will be written THAT WEEK.

Lonie's on a friday night...

Caught the solo act's last song, grand piano pushing out chords and stellar vocals.  (Nothing but covers, paying tribute to her favorites.)  Followed by an awesome goodtime dance band.  Rockin' out the beats and getting the butts to shake... ...mostly covers, paying tributes to the lead singer's favs.  They closed super strong with an original, introducing every member of the group.  The crowd encouraged 'one more song' and they bust into a Billie Jean cover that had all the right parts being played, but the jam wasn't in it.  They left the stage in turmoil for the sound guy to work out for us.  Let's just say i'm continually amazed at this band, Barrett's Hidden Agenda, in this case it was the ability to overcome.  To hurry up and wait, to be patient, kind professionals, and once given the green light - to BRING IT.  "Blood in the River" shook the room.  The bobbing heads, the stomping feet, the hands clapping all in the gravel time that is the bed in the track raised the band up for the rest of the set.  We pushed the boundaries in Jon Rogers' cut "Catch Afire," and anytime Andrew Doney gets to play a grand piano is well, grand! Cheryl's feature cuts where just downright awesome.  Her vocal prowess and stage presence can be such a needed anchor for the group.

After we finished, Lonie was getting her Big Baddass Band to sound check.  She did her thing, and came back down while sound was being dialed in on the other instruments.  

"I can't believe you guys, Barrett.  You did your full set without monitors?!? The vocals were so well blended, in pitch, and the band was so freakin' TIGHT."  She said to me.  I think she was more excited then i was over our set.  She is such an appreciator and facilitator of art as a whole.  She knows the craftmanship that goes into each song, let alone the effort and time it takes to put it all into one set.

Most of us hung out into the wee hours of the morning listening to Lonie and Co. jam it out.  From jazz to NOLA funk, that band's got it.  Lot of inspiration and perspiration in each tune they play, and it all seems so effortless.

Can't wait to bring BHA back to Lonie's for a couple of sets, hopefully regularly.  Keep ya posted.

Vocals - CHECK!

Holy wowza late night envelop pushing session batman!  Andrew Doney is the hidden dude in the Hidden Agenda.  I'm consistently floored by his music mind, and approach to sounds, and realistic honesty to accomplish a given musical task.  That guy has more understanding about the vocal instrument then anyone i know.  He knows the muscles, the names of sonic elements in singing that i've never heard of.  He had me make sounds i've never made, approach 'pushing air' like i've never done before.  Needless to say, i'm beyond thankful, wow'ed and proud that i 'conviced him to join the band' as he puts it.

"Talking to the Trains" started it's origin years before this band existed.  A direct reaction to losing my older brother, Josh, tragically and suddenly.  To this day i hold dear to the lyrics and progression.  As a full complete composition, i couldn't be prouder.  In a previous band with Keith, "Micki and the Good Name Band," he always claimed it was confusing and inconsistent.  We never tried to chart it out, just go by feel.  I was coming off of a 7+ year jam band project that was all about feel.  With BHA's approach, we actually put this song together in a way that made it better as a whole - and pulled at some of the 'unknown direction' that was always a potential in it.  Because of the emotional history i have invested in the tune, it's so hard for me to let go, but i trust and love these people more than chords can say.  It was a 3+ hour vocal session, and Andrew pulled out of me some of the best singing i've ever done.  I'm giving it a few days to sink in, and come back with fresh engineer ears to dial it in.  It's amazing to let something go, give it to your music family, have them play with it in the sandbox, put it back together and give it back... ...only to push you to raise the bar in your contribution to the track.  I can't wait to share it with you all.

"...and when those big rocks dissolve into salt, i'll finally be content with where i'm at & what i've got."  - Barrett, from 'Talking to the Trains'

Jan 14th Canceled

Due to some conflicts, the January 14th show at Chop Shop/1st Ward has been canceled.  We are working out another date with the venue, and really look forward to playing there.  Thank you to those that had already RSVP'd via  If you don't use that site/app, you should check it out, great way to find bands playing tonight and into the future.  We use it, super simple, and helps us show venues that we bring it!

Thanks for understanding and your constant support!


...blah, sick for a week...

That's right folks, all things Barrett ground to a halt.  Layed up and out of it for 6 full days, and still not 100%.  Gotta take it easy as i get back into the swing of things.  Being very busy with family, work, life, and obviously MUSIC, I don't always realize i'm getting run down - to the point of exhaustion.  This was the case, and fell ill overnight, and am now calling it around 75% back to normal.

Things are happening in the BHA world daily - we just got a new show booked that we get to announce shortly!

All contents property of Barrett's Hidden Agenda (BHA LLC), All photos by Phil Stosur