Barefoot Manner

Barefoot Manner is a four-piece musical group whose sound is heavily rooted in high energy newgrass, soul shaking funk, and musical experimentation on all levels. The Boys of Barefoot Manner have an overwhelming passion for making music, stirring it up really fast, and mixing in some positive reggae and Caribbean vibes. The music has been labeled everything from Americana Groove-grass to Cosmic Funk-grass, to bluegrass and beyond. Essentially, the music of Barefoot Manner is an original blend of bluegrass instrumentation in a genre-free world. Each live show is a new experience for both the band and its fans and the Manner Men strive for perfection and uniqueness in the music they create.


The music of Barefoot Manner started at the turn of the millennium as a bluegrass trio. Walter Hensey, Dave Kleiss, & Shawn Chase would get together and combine their love of music with their desire to become better musicians and play hour after hour, evening after evening, throughout the year. Then in the Fall of 2000, they met Jeff Garland and his percussion world and the now four-piece Barefoot Manner began to develop their unique sound. For months, the Barefoot Boys worked on their music and an inseparable bond began to form between them. They decided it was time to share their music and the Barefoot Manner positive vibe with others.


Barefoot Manner is:

Jeff Garland on Percussion & vocals, Hank Smith on Banjo & Electric Banjo & vocals, Shawn Chase, Mandolin & vocals, and the newest member, Leo Kishore on Bass.

Walter Hensey has moved on to focus on his new family, and Dec 31st, 2005, Barefoot Manner played its last show with Walt. David Kleiss left the band at the end of 2006.



On January 27th, 2001, Barefoot Manner made their first official appearance at the Pour House in Raleigh, North Carolina. The buzz about Barefoot Manner leading up to the show packed the Pour House and the entire night was magical. Everyone got down. Everyone. The energy was electrifying and the boys of Barefoot Manner decided right then and there that this is what they wanted.

Barefoot Manner spent the majority of 2001 playing extensively throughout North Carolina, performing with such acts as the Sam Bush Band, Acoustic Syndicate, the Larry Keel Experience, Blueground Undergrass, and the John Cowan Band. With the continued circulation of bootlegs and the release of their debut studio album, "Mannerisms", in September, the world of Barefoot Manner began to gain momentum.


Barefoot Manner performed 133 shows in 2002, touring through 13 states. They toured out to Colorado and back in both the Spring and Fall. Highlights of the year were Smilefest in June with Béla Fleck and Keller Williams and Salmonfest in August with Leftover Salmon and Galactic. In September, Barefoot Manner also hosted its first ever outdoor festival called Mannerland and headlined the event for two nights. The group's second album, "Centered", came out in November and Home Grown Music Network stepped up to help circulate. Barefoot Manner did a two night stay at the "Haunted" Pour House in Raleigh, NC for Halloween and then did their New Years show at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC. All in all, 2002 was a year of huge growth for the group, both in its fanbase and musical level.


A whirlwind year for the Manner men, the group performed 155 shows in 20 states playing non-stop throughout the year. The group toured out to Colorado in March and then hosted its second festival, Mannerland II, in April. Long-time friend, Hank Smith, officially joined the group over the Summer with his unique banjo skills. The group's Smilefest performance in Union Grove, NC marked the beginning of the five-piece Manner sound as Barefoot Manner played nearly five straight hours and brought the sun up to close out the festival. Barefoot Manner rounded out the Summer by touring out to California for the first time to play the High Sierra Festival. Upon returning to North Carolina, the guys recorded their 3rd album live in Raleigh on July 26th and 27th at the Aqua Leisure shows. Barefoot Manner welcomed in the Fall with their third festival, Mannerland III, in September. The Halloween show in 2003 showcased Barefoot Manner as a council of Manner jedi with the Star Wars theme in full effect. The New Year's Eve show was at The Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC and the event was filmed in hopes of releasing a DVD in the Spring of 2004.


Barefoot Manner spent 2004 touring the South Eastern United States and performing at a number of Festivals. All in all, the Manner Men performed 142 shows up and down the East Coast. To top off all the highlights of the year, Barefoot Manner opened for The Dead at Alltel Pavilion in Raleigh, NC on August 17th. Then, Mannerland IV on September 10th-12th was a huge success in terms of music, weather, friends, and fun. The two night Halloween event featured Myron Koch on sax and was full of zany fun and surprises. To close out the year, the New Year’s theme was a Western style Barefoot hoedown. All the guys were dressed in full cowboy gear and over 300 capguns were passed out at midnight and shot off to bring in the New Year.


After three straight years of being road warriors and diligently spreading the Manner vibe via gasoline, sleep deprivation, and floor crashing; the group decided to throttle back the touring machine and focus on getting back to the most important element of the entire Barefoot Manner equation: the love for the music. The group made a conscious decision to perform less shows and spend the majority of the year working on keeping the band healthy and happy and really getting back to the music. The group performed 64 shows, concentrating close to their home state of North Carolina. Highlights of the year included the Terrapin Tour at the beginning of the year, Smilefest 11 in the Summer, and Mannerland 5 in the Fall. The Halloween Shows had a Pirate theme and the Manner Men set sail from Raleigh to Wilmington and back over two magical evenings. Then, on December 31st, 2005, Barefoot Manner marked the end of an era with a special evening that focused on celebrating Walter Hensey’s incredible five year contribution to the Manner vibe. Walter's final show as bass player for the group was an emotional evening full of musical inspiration and energy. The Amateurs, Mamadou Diabate, and Mac & Juice all shared in this special New Year’s event.


As David Kleiss, Hank Smith, Shawn Chase, Jeff Garland, and Leo Kishore embark on the sixth year of the Barefoot Manner musical journey, the focus is all about exploring the music on all new levels. The musicians, fans, and friends in the world of Barefoot Manner continue to create moments that celebrate the fact that we are alive and share in the beauty of the positive music and energy they create together.

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