Barry Bales

Barry Bales isn’t just a beloved acoustic bass bluegrass musician, he’s shaped the genre itself. Perhaps best known as the bassist for Alison Krauss & Union Station, Barry is also one of the most in-demand session players in music. Barry can be heard laying down foundational rhythm and richness on tracks with Merle Haggard, Shania Twain, The Civil Wars, Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson—just to name a few. A two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Bass Player of the Year, Barry was heavily involved in the groundbreaking motion picture soundtrack for “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” If that’s not enough, he also contributed to the soundtrack for the Johnny Cash biopic, “Walk the Line.” And if you’re still not convinced of his once-in-a-generation talent, hear this: Only a very select group of musicians can say they’ve won a Grammy Award. Thus far in Barry’s storied career, he’s earned 14. That’s crazy! A self-proclaimed “unabashed southerner,” he spends his spare time (of which there is little) hunting waterfowl, caring for the family farm, and recording with emerging artists like you.

Music + Vitals

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Gear
    • 1936 American Standard acoustic bass w/steel strings
    • 1955 American Standard acoustic bass w/gut strings
    • Circa late 1800’s French carved acoustic bass
    • 1966 Fender Precision electric bass
    • 1972 Fender Jazz electric bass
    • 2010 Fender Jazz electric bass
    • Warwick Thumb active electric bass
    • Kala U-Bass
    • Ampeg SVT Classic amp head
    • Avalon U5

CHARLIE’S TIP : Upgrade to the Premium Account and receive the inside story on how Barry and I record together, including gear, signal flow, and techniques we’ve perfected over the years. I’ll give you lots of game-changing tips on how to get the most out of your session with Barry. P.S., when you book Barry for your session, ask him about how carefully we created those simple bass parts on ‘Barton Hollow’ by The Civil Wars.

Charlie Peacock on Barry

The right notes are important, but tone and time is everything and Barry’s got more than enough. I really think Barry’s tenure with Alison Krauss & Union Station has made him a very unique bassist. His playing is a wonderful combination of simplicity, just the right movement, with those one-of-a-kind moments of: “Hey, listen to this little tasty bit.” For Bluegrass, Country, Alt-Country, Folk-Americana bass playing, it doesn’t get better than this. But don’t box Barry in – he’s a world-class musician that can fit into any genre. No question. And he’s a producer too with deep skills. I hope you get to work with him soon, whether remotely, or via tracking and overdubs here in Nashville.

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EXCLUSIVE: the inside story on how Barry and I record together