Kearney Barton circa 2011 (Photo: Chris Gergley)
About Kearney Barton: Seattle recording engineer Kearney Barton (1931-2012) began crafting sounds in the early 1950s. His portfolio arcs over genres: rock, opera, jazz, folk, bluegrass, classical, cabaret, gospel, and even the occasional accordion-infused Nordic novelty song. Most significantly, Barton is recognized with shaping the “Northwest Sound.” NW music historian Peter Blecha writes: "Seattle's Kearney Barton is the man whose audio engineering work can be credited with forging the powerful aural esthetic that became widely known as the 'original Northwest Sound'" (historylink.org).
As a result of his many decades of work, Barton amassed thousands of analog reel-to-reel recordings at his home studio. In April 2010, the UW Libraries received a grant from the American Music Partnership of Seattle (AMPS) to preserve and describe a portion of these recordings. The UW Libraries continues to work with his family, Light in the Attic Records, and others to preserve and provide access to these audio gems. If you have questions about the Collection, or want to learn more about how to support its preservation, please contact archivist John Vallier.