Written by Lizzie Wann
You can just never be sure where you’re going to find home. For Barbara Nesbitt, a fair-haired Georgia native, she’s found hers in music. Her life is reflected in the songs she writes which are about the ways, large and small, we abandon and seek that elusive safety of home.
Nesbitt’s childhood home in Georgia didn’t include her mother, but Nesbitt felt close to her through music. After finding a hidden stash of 45’s by Sam Cooke, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and others in the basement of her father’s house, she snuck them up to her room and sang along night after night, imagining the darkness beyond her window was the audience.
At fifteen, Nesbitt ran away from home, landing herself among a group of jam- and groove-oriented musicians in Virginia. She met Bernie Lee who put a guitar in her hand and encouraged her to step behind the microphone. Before long, they were playing gigs to large groups of people, and Nesbitt found a new home on stage. She thrived and started writing her own songs but made a great living doing cover gigs in a succession of bands including Rare Daze, Cradle, and The Perpetrators, a duo with Lee. Nesbitt was recognized with nominations for female songwriter of the year, and a win for acoustic performer of the year.
In late 2005, Nesbitt followed her heart to San Diego where she quickly found performance showcases hosted and promoted by Listen Local San Diego’s maven, Cathryn Beeks. Nesbitt developed fast friendships and fans among the supportive network of musicians. Not long after getting to town, she entered and won the San Diego Music Scene Cream of the Crop singer/songwriter competition and was nominated for best female singer for the inaugural H.A.T. Award. Inspired by her new surroundings and everything that came before, Nesbitt wrote the words and music for her debut album, “A Million Stories.”
Backed up by stand-out players Marcia Claire (Citizen Band, Cindy Lee Berryhill) on bass, Bill Coomes (Deadline Friday, The Grams) on drums and vocals and Mike Spurgat (Deadline Friday, Citizen Band) on guitar and vocals, Nesbitt also had San Diego legend Jeff Berkley on board to produce the album and to add vocals and guitar. With special guests including Dennis Caplinger, Freebo, Ben Moore and John McBride, there’s no doubt that Nesbitt surrounds herself with the very best as she continues to mesmerize anyone within listening distance. Upon its release, “A Million Stories,” was nominated for a San Diego Music Award, and a San Diego HAT (Honoring Acoustic Talent) Award.
In the last year she has performed/recorded with Berkley Hart, Tim Flannery, Dennis Caplinger, Freebo, Marc Ford, Cathryn Beeks Ordeal, Doug Pettibone, Gregory Page and more. She has shared the stage / opened for artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keene, Lisa Loeb, Hootie & The Blowfish, Meredith Brooks, Nickel Creek, Jerry Garcia Band, Keller Williams, and more.
Not since June Carter Cash or Emmylou Harris has there been such a unique voice. At once plaintive and harrowing while sweet and melodic, Nesbitt’s power is drawn from the shadows she’s known and overcome. Her voice conveys a confidence and a hopefulness that’s tempered only by a small wisp of sadness. She’s ready to tell you all her stories; ready for anything that lies ahead and ready to call the world her home.