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Barns Courtney

A British singer/songwriter who splits the difference between Ed Sheeran's sensitivity, the big-footed stomp of early Mumford & Sons, and a keen moodiness, Barns Courtney received a heavy boost in 2015 when his song "Fire" appeared on the soundtrack to the Bradley Cooper vehicle Burnt. It, along with the single "Glitter & Gold," brought attention to his 2016 debut album, The Attractions of Youth. Courtney ramped up the energy and gloss for 2019's 404, returning to that sound with 2022's "Supernatural" after a brief sojourn of introspection on 2020's Hard to Be Alone. Born Barnaby George Courtney in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, he lived in England until he was four, then spent a decade in Seattle, Washington, before returning to the U.K. at the age of 15. By the time he left his adolescence, he had led a pair of indie bands, SleeperCell and Dive Bella Dive. The latter wound up with a contract with Island Records, but the label dropped the group and Courtney without releasing a record. He then toured as a singer/songwriter, opening for Libertine Carl Barat on a solo jaunt and Ed Sheeran on a North American tour, but he paid the bills by working at PC World. He signed with Virgin, and "Fire" made its way into the production circles of Burnt; it was selected for the soundtrack, with a second single, "Glitter and Gold," appearing around the same time. Before the release of his first full-length album, Courtney issued the Dull Drums EP in early 2017. The LP -- titled The Attractions of Youth -- arrived later that fall, produced and engineered with help from former Dive Bella Dive bandmate Sam Bartle. February 2018 saw the release of the single "Sinners," which was co-written with Carl Barat. A pair of songs, "99" and "Good Thing," followed six months later. Courtney returned in May 2019 with the single "You and I," which preceded the September release of his second album, 404. Recorded during quarantine and featuring a stripped-down sound, his next outing was the 2020 EP Hard to Be Alone. Courtney returned in 2022 with the single "Supernatural."
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo


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