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Deb Barr: Deb's Story

Deb Barr has lived in Western Colorado since 1981, when she moved from the blossoming Austin music scene to the upstart ski town of Telluride. With deep family roots in country and gospel, Barr began performing folk and pop at the age of 15 in Abilene, Texas, with The Trilogy (with Mark Best, Philip Craik, Tommy Dean & Paul Blakemore) before moving to the Austin area to attend college.

First based in San Marcos and then Austin, Barr performed as a budding singer/songwriter in local nightspots such as Castle Creek, the Hole-in-the-Wall, Liberty Lunch & Buffalo Grill, both as a soloist and with the bands Nexus (with Jerry & Nancy Stephens), Fool's Moon (with Andy Murphy) and Deb Barr Group (with John Jordan). Of note: Barr was a student at UT-Austin and signed up to be one of the first-season performers at the brand new (then) Cactus Café at the University of Texas.

In 1981 Barr moved to Telluride to join the Telluride Jazz Quintet (with James "Catfish" Hunter, Ed Chenoweth, Bob from California, Jim Rambo & Paul Machado), the house band at the Last Dollar Saloon. Soon she was working around the San Juan Mountains with dance bands ElectroLix (with Mark Dennis, Rick Lawrence & Patrick Lombardi) and The Movers (w/ Ken Mihelich, Guy Russo & John Hernandez) and as a solo performer at music hotspots, including the infamous, and now defunct, Southwest Coffeehouse of Durango and Trinity Tavern in Telluride. 

In 1988 Barr left Colorado for New York to study privately with Ann Marie Moss of the Manhattan School of Music and worked as a solo performer in Connecticut and on Long Island. In 1990 she returned west to her beloved land of dreams, taking up residency in Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. In 1995 the New Mexico Jazz Workshop voted Barr one of the top five jazz vocalists in the state and she was featured in the annual “Women’s Voices” concert series in Albuquerque.

Barr returned to Colorado in 1996 and resumed her career in Telluride. She completed her first CD of original music, “Comets & Waves,” in 1997 and co-produced a second with Sally Whiting, “From the Mountaintop” (Songs of Praise & Inspiration), in 2000. In 2007 Barr produced a third CD, “All My Stories,” with David Hammond.

 In 1999 Barr joined Durango-based saxophonist Jeff Solon & His Swinging Big Band as a vocalist and sang with the band until the spring of 2011. Currently Barr continues as a solo artist, performing around the region. She is also a writer for local and regional publications and a published poet. She and photographer Jim Womeldorf collaborated to publish "There Will Always Be A Place", a collection of poems written by Barr with photos by Womeldorf, in 2010.