Montana songwriter with clean melodies and smart, catchy songs
$10 advance / $12 day of show
I – indecisive
Z – zaney
A – artistic
A – avocado
K – kewl
O – optimistic
P – particular
A – available
T – talented
Z – zebra
Izaak Opatz is a mountain man (from Montana)! He works in National Parks, cutting trails through the woods, probably wearing a vest or a funny hat and crapping in holes in the ground. He goes weeks on end without seeing another single person. When he does finally wander into town, he usually comes back with a pack-mule-donkey-satchel-thing chock full of songs about women that he’s been dreaming of, places where he used to be happy, situations he screwed up… really dipping into a well of memories that are probably better left alone.
His songs teeter on the edge of sentimental-songwriter’y-sad-n-lonely stuff. This is a tough area for a songwriter to inhabit, because it’s easy to get lumped in the with the rest of the middle aged losers at the open mic night BUT IZAAK DOES IT SO WELL that you’re convinced almost immediately that he’s the real deal and he doesn’t need to prove it. You hear the songs and you’ll be won over immediately. You watch him play and you’ll wish he’d never stop. You talk to him for a minute and you’ll offer up your prettiest daughter and welcome him into your family. But if you turn your back on him for even a minute, he’ll probably wander back up the mountain and give up whatever you offer him, no matter how sweet the sitch or pretty the daughter. He’s got his own agenda and it’s frustrating but also so admirable. My advice is to catch him whenever and however you can and celebrate this sensitive mountain man while he’s around. ~Jonny Fritz
BARNA HOWARD was born and raised in a quintessential Midwest town. His youth in Eureka, Missouri was pure Americana – the sort of childhood that inspired E.T.-era Spielberg – baseball cards in his bicycle spokes, flying freely down Main Street and through neighbors’ backyards.
However, much of Barna’s story is not unique to his hometown, and, like most of small town America, Eureka has lost some of that charm over time. Main Street has changed, kids don’t run around quite so carelessly, and in an almost laughably cruel twist, his childhood home was knocked down in favor of a Walmart parking lot.
After high school, Howard moved north to study animation in one cold and windy city and then east for love in another. Years later, he blindly followed two friends to the Northwest, crossing the Rockies for the first time, in search of inspiration, opportunity and a fresh start.
Barna’s self-titled debut chronicled these moves as he struggled with the contrast between his small town upbringing and these big city wanderings. The album was met with critical acclaim and underground success, partly thanks to an opportunely placed song in the hit indie film, Drinking Buddies. One critic even likened him to some “lost genius of the 60’s.”
The songs on Barna Howard’s second album, Quite A Feelin’, ruminate on his relationship with home. Now entrenched in Portland, Oregon, many of the album’s tracks immortalize and reflect on the Eureka he once knew, while others focus on the relationships that define his new home out west. Small town life has long been celebrated in country and folk music, but Barna’s knack for capturing his own deeply personal nostalgia resonates in a rarely universal way.