Barna Howard was born and raised in a quintessential Midwest town. His youth in Eureka, Missouri was pure Americana and the sort of childhood that inspired E.T.-era Spielberg i.e. baseball cards in his bicycle spokes, flying freely down Main Street and through neighbours’ backyards.
However, much of Barna’s story is not unique to his hometown, and, like most of small town America, Eureka has lost some of that charm over time. Main Street has changed, kids don’t run around quite so carelessly, and in an almost laughably cruel twist, his childhood home was knocked down in favour of a Walmart parking lot.
Barna’s self-titled debut chronicled his contrasting struggles between his small town upbringing and big city wanderings. The album was met with critical acclaim and underground success, partly thanks to an opportunely placed song in the hit indie film, Drinking Buddies.
Now entrenched in Portland, Oregon, many of his current album’s tracks immortalise and reflect on the Eureka he once knew, while others focus on the relationships that define his new home out west. Small town life has long been celebrated in country and folk music, but Barna’s knack for capturing his own deeply personal nostalgia resonates in a rarely universal way.
© Anthony Griffin Photography 2016