38 Special singer Don Barnes says the band plays more than 100 cities a year. So, if Fredericksburg didn’t get a show amid this wild road trip, that would be super-sad.
Fortunately, the iconic rock band digs the ’Burg and will rock an After Hours Concerts show at the Marks & Harrison Amphitheater Saturday evening.
This year marks 38 Special’s 45th year in the biz. Barnes co-founded the band with some buddies in the mid-’70s and the memories keep piling on to this day.
“I’ll never forget it ... being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame a few years back,” said Barnes. “One of our longtime friends was there inducting us and said, ‘I can’t believe those little songs that we cobbled together years ago are still played every day throughout the country.’ It’s been such a great, unexpected blessing that they still have legs and bring people out.”
38 Special has sold more than 20 million albums and amassed a catalog of 13 studio albums. Its biggest Southern rock-infused hits include the iconic singalong “Hold on Loosely,” “Second Chance” and “Caught Up in You.”
While the band hasn’t released a new LP since 2004 (its “Live from Texas” live record dropped in 2011), Barnes released somewhat of a “lost” solo album in 2017. Titled “Ride the Storm,” the album was recorded nearly 30 years ago for A&M Records with the support of an all-star cast, including award-winning producer Dann Huff, late Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, Sammy Hagar keyboardist Jesse Harms and Heart drummer Denny Carmassi.
Post-recording, A&M Records was acquired several times over and his project was pushed aside. Throughout the years, the music was physically lost by the record company, until Barnes discovered he had the only existing copy left. So, he worked on remastering it and the end result is pure rock bliss.
“It sounds 50 feet tall,” he said. “It certainly rode its own storm throughout the years, but I’m glad it got here.”
As for a mysterious, “lost” recording out there that 38 Special may have created years ago? Well, unfortunately, that does not exist, so don’t get your hopes up. But there are some new nuggets in the works.
“We’re about 60 to 70 percent done with some new tunes, but don’t have a time frame for that release just yet,” said Barnes. “I will say there is a lot of great stuff with a lot of what we like to call ‘muscle and melody.’”
Everything is peachy between the guys, too. In fact, Barnes describes the current camaraderie as “a celebration of brotherhood.” Earlier this year, the band officially added guitarist Jerry Riggs to its lineup, who, among other endeavors, recorded and toured with Pat Travers for more than a decade.
“It’s been such an honor to bring the jackpot of the Southern rock world to our band,” said Barnes. “Just as a whole though, there’s no negativity at all with this group. You look around, there’s so much joy onstage and backstage.”
And, for a band that spends about a third of the year on the road together, that’s totally a good thing.
“We have been so good at live shows ... it’s the thing we do best,” he said. “It’s a great job to bring that joy to people every night, whether they’re high-fiving or have tears in their eyes. You get to see that immediate impact. And, in many cases, you get the same vindication as the first time you recorded it.”