Micah Barnes tops the Jazz charts with “Vegas Breeze” album
Since its release of Micah Barnes‘ Vegas Breeze album, it has become a listener favourite on Jazz stations around the world. The intriguingly shape shifting lead track on Vegas Breeze, “Welcome to the Club” is more than an enticing invitation, it’s an inspired mash-up of two different, little-known songs with the same title. Nat King Cole recorded and released his “Welcome to the Club” in 1959, and Mel Tormé wrote, recorded, and released his in 1961. Discovering and combining the two songs exemplifies the approach Barnes took to create his latest and third full length solo project.
“It felt like the most natural thing in the world,” notes Barnes. “The joining of a traditional barstool ballad with a swinging Vegas showstopper seemed to cover all the Vegas traditions at once. But what was incredible is that both lyrics give advice to a fellow “swinger” after being screwed over by a cheating lover. Perfect for our Vegas Breeze album,” Barnes explains.
Soft, low candle glow. The tinkle of ice tossed in a highball glass. An empty, beckoning stage. Hushed, excited anticipation of who will stand next to the baby grand to serenade all the lovers and lonely hearts in the room.
“Our focus on Vegas Breeze was to find unusual songs from the showroom era and choose material from beyond the regular Rat Pack repertoire,” Barnes adds. “That led to a really fun period of research, discovery and exploration for me and the band. You know when you are kids, and you spend time together in each other’s houses a whole bunch? In fact, it was while playing records in the basement of a friend’s house I came across a Nat King Cole song that seared itself into my memory,” recalls Barns. “The melody was bluesy and swaggering. The lyrics are smart and sexy. The arrangement played by Count Basie’s band – so fun and swinging!”
Following up three consecutive #1 singles on the iTunes Canadian Jazz charts, “Welcome to the Club” conjures up images of a swanky Vegas showroom in the ‘50s or ‘60s with a velvet-voiced vocalist holding court on the stage. Back then, if you couldn’t get to Vegas for the full, live experience, you could often see the singing stars of the era on your TV.
For the “Welcome to the Club” video, Barnes wanted to recreate the 1960s TV variety show experience but, how to pull that off? After Barnes was forced to shelve a national tour in 2020, he and his band pivoted to perform a 14-date virtual tour “from the living room”. One of the virtual venues, London Ontario’s historic Aeolian Hall, became a favourite, and Barnes and his band were invited back to play a livestream there in the summer of 2021.
Born in Vienna and raised in Canada, Micah Barnes cut his teeth in the cabarets and jazz clubs of the city while still a teenager, before touring the world as a member of the A Cappella vocal group The Nylons. A JUNO Award-nominee, the years since have seen Barnes developing as an International SOLO artist with top-charting hits including the Billboard #1 “Welcome To My Head,” & #1 Jazz Albums New York Stories & Vegas Breeze. Micah is also an internationally respected Vocal, Performance & Career Strategy Coach.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.