About The Host
Eric Barr is a local independent artist, known for his rough and soulful acoustic guitar playing and original vocal style. He has been called the “Hoosier Neil Young”, having produced 4 albums, and jammed with some pretty big names in the local music scene.
Eric has been in the local music scene since the early 90′s when he started going to local Open Stage’s in Crawfordsville, IN. He joined up with fellow musician JC Clendening and his project “Alias, Smith & Jones“, which
included Jay West, Chad Clendening, and sometimes Chris Smith. He played with AS&J for a few years, learning sound and performing, and getting better on stage.
In 1998 he started hosting his own “Open Stage” at the Waveland Pub, in Waveland, IN. There he met up with bassist Jeff Snell, who was also an awesome guitar player and singer. Eric and Jeff worked with Jay West, developing their vocal abilities, and pulled off some incredible 3-part harmonies a la Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Chris Smith joined in around 2000 along with Fountain county drummer Travis Bernarte, and the stage was set for Eric’s first band, “The Dug Batterson Project“. Jay had a lot of schedule requirements and soon left, leaving the band to it’s most recognized 4-piece state. In the meantime, Eric was recording his first solo album “Down By The River“. In the summer of 2002 Dug Batterson Project recorded its infamous “Buckasong Blues” album in the “Octagon Mansion”. The mansion was a huge unfinished 5-story home in rural Montgomery county, where legend has it that the grounds are haunted. Chris stuck mikes all over the mansion to get just the right sound for the haunting, blistering blues he laid down on that disk. The band took a break in 2003/2004 while Eric produced his second solo album, “Lone Coyote“.
In the summer of 2005, Eric and Jeff were playing a benefit at Raccoon Lake in Parke county, when they met accomplished percussionist Steve Ellis from Terre Haute, IN. Steve was a networking machine, and a real doer. He wanted to put together a band to play Eric’s original songs, and in the following months, “Eric Barr & Group Therapy” was born. Group Therapy was a 7-piece band with Eric singing and playing rhythm guitar, Chris Smith on lead guitar, Jeff Snell playing bass and backup vocals, Steve Ellis on drums percussion, Lenny Mansell on percussion’s, Joe Donnelley on saxophone and flute, and Archie Smith on keyboards. Amber Lukowski sat in on many sessions as backup vocalist. Group Therapy played all over the west-central Indiana area, and built up a good following. They recorded their live album “Jammin’” in the summer of 2006, which included originals and a few cover tunes. Group Therapy dis-banded in 2007 when a few of the members moved away.
Eric made two music videos from the Jammin” disk, “Muskmellon“, and “The Jammin’ Song“, in his studio, affectionately dubbed “Rock River Studios“, named after Sugar Creek in west-central Indiana. Eric spent a lot of time with his acoustic guitar on the banks of Sugar Creek, and wrote much of his music there. Sugar Creek was briefly referred to as “Rock River” in the late 1800′s, and Eric liked the sound of that.
With Group Therapy disbanded, Eric, Chris and Jeff rejoined drummer Travis Bernarte to revive the old Dug Batterson Project. They played local gigs around the area until Jeff moved away to Texas in 2008. By then, drummer Travis Bernarte had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), which was robbing him of his ability to play drums. The disease ultimately took Travis’ life in April of 2010.
Since then, Eric went back to his roots of playing solo at a few gigs in central Indiana. Eric has run at least one regular open stage since the late 90′s, and currently hosts the Friday Night Jam at the Waynetown Bar & Grill in Waynetown, Indiana every other Friday night. He enjoys helping new artists gain their confidence and build up their performance “the same way Kenn Clark and Monte Keller helped me in the early days at their open stages”. He met up with drummer Billy Sloan, bassist Tim Parke, and long-time friend Mikey D (harmonica) there, and they have put together a pretty good bar band that entertains the Friday Night crowds.
Eric was a regular visitor to the “Voice of the Independent Artist” radio show on Thunder 103.9 from it’s inception in 2005 to it’s demise in 2009. He supported the concept of the show, which was to help promote local independent artists and their music. He decided to try to create a new independent artist radio show with the help of his new wife, Megan. He went to Thunder 103.9 Radio studios in August of 2010 to carve a deal to create the new show, Local Thunder. Management was keen to the idea, with a few changes from the previous VIA program. The program is produced at Rock River Studios and broadcast on Thunder 103.9, and podcast at thelocalthunder.com. The first episode aired on January 4th 2011.
Currently, Eric resides in Crawfordsville with his wife, Megan, and step-son Trent. “Megan is my right hand.”, says Eric. “She has learned how to do a lot of jobs in the studio, and out live on gigs. She has a great artistic eye for shooting video, a great sense of organization, and helps me in the creative department, as well. There’s no way I could produce this radio show alone, I’d be lost without her at this point.” he says of his partner.