Musician Spotlight: Barbara Nesbitt

May 3, 2023

Barbara Nesbitt, Americana/Folk Singer-Songwriter out of Austin, TX, is gearing up to make her 5th album titled, Someday, Maybe Sooner. Her voice and songwriting have placed her in the top 5 Best Female Singer and in the top 3 Best Songwriter categories in the Austin Music Awards and her last release, Right As Rain, is in rotation on SiriusXM Radio.  She co-founded the breakout band, The Whiskey Sisters, to much buzz and acclaim, and has recently sung background vocals for Willie Nelson and Bob Weir.


We sat down with Barbara to discuss her musical inspirations, what brought her to MTF, and what she has going on in the coming months!

How did you get your (musical) start? What inspired you to start playing music in the first place?

My mother was a musician and a band director. She disappeared from our lives when I was very young and music became a thing that made me feel connected to her.  I would listen to anything I could get my hands on which wasn’t much until I found a stash of 55s (from the 50s and 60s) in the basement.  I learned to sing every line of every song top to bottom and even made up little dance moves for them. When I was fifteen I was on my own basically living on the street.  I fell in with some hippie musicians, got a job at a bookstore, and rented a room in their house.  They were the first ones to put a microphone in front of me.  I would sing along at their rehearsals and they asked me to join in. I have never looked back.

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

Most of my musical inspirations are the people I have known over my musical career.  My first guitar player opened my eyes to the world of music in ways I couldn’t possibly articulate. I cut my musical teeth in the Norfolk/Tidewater region of Virginia and would attend many local bands’ performances in genres that ranged from jam band, to singer/songwriter, to hard rock, to jazz. That continued when I moved to San Diego and subsequently to Austin. I have picked up so much from all of the tremendous talents along my path, musicians that both inspired me and made me want to quit even trying (because they were so good!)

What was the injury that first brought you into contact with MTF? How did it impact your ability to play music?

I had a torn tendon in my elbow… Dr. Barron can tell you the technical term. It turns out I have four more throughout my body and no idea why. I am still working on figuring that part out.  Everything was (is) painful.  Holding chords, moving equipment, and even picking up my glass of whiskey (medicinal, obviously). Dr. Barron performed surgery on my elbow in February…I think the technical description is “open up arm, clean up tendons and tie them back together in a nice, pretty bow”

What was your experience like receiving treatment through MTF? How long did it take for you to be able to play again? 

MTF has treated me like family. Everyone has been kind and sympathetic to my pain.  Dr. Barron has been an absolute treasure.  From making the appointment to surgery and post-care, it has all been easy and smooth…and very affordable.

After surgery, I was playing within a few weeks. I am still healing up but have been able to do all the things that were so difficult with my left arm.  If only he did hips, too!!

I have a deep appreciation of and gratitude for all y’all.  Dr. Barron even recommended me to perform at a few MTF functions where I met Irene (who is awesome) and a lovely bunch of folks who seem to genuinely care about us wee musicians. 

Is there anything you’d like us to plug?

Every Monday, Ben Jones of Beat Root Revival and I host Monday Night Supper Club at El Mercado. We spotlight a variety of local singer/songwriters with whom we swap songs and stories. 

Listen to their work:

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How did you get your (musical) start? What inspired you to start playing music in the first place? I started writing poetry when I was about 7. I fell in love with songs and lyrics. I used to sing for my family either accompanied by my uncle on guitar or my stepmother on piano. Who […]

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How did you get your (musical) start? What inspired you to start playing music in the first place? I grew up in a musical household. My older siblings all played instruments and sang, and I learned the fundamentals of harmony and rhythm sitting around the living room and singing hymns and folk songs. A big […]