Dustin Barber, known to his friends as "Dusty," began playing guitar at age 7 in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he was born. His father Sam bought him an electric guitar and taught him classics such as "Walk Don't Run" and "Wipe Out," which he leveraged to win elementary school talent shows. Soon after, he was playing complicated classical pieces.
In his early teens, he moved to Jacksonville, FL, and became heavily influenced by "Guitar Gods" such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. He vowed to practice 8 hours a day, and did so for many years. By the time he was in high school, he was known as a consummate shredder and began performing with some of the hottest Heavy Metal and Rock and Roll bands in the city.
His first big opportunity to tour internationally, surprisingly, was with a Southern Rock / Country band. This required that he set aside his Charvel and pick up a Telecaster, but as a fan of Chet Atkins, Ricky Skaggs, and Albert Lee, with whom he studied, he had no trouble combining his progressive rock skills with blistering country chops.
After honing his craft in a number of regional cover bands, he was interested in taking his skills to the next level. He moved to Los Angeles, toured with national acts, took lessons with artists such as Frank Gambale, did studio sessions, and performed with his friend, child prodigy drummer Jacob Armen. These experiences, along with his Berklee College of Music sessions, opened his eyes to complex music theory as well as unique, non-traditional scales and styles of music and playing.
Upon moving back to Jacksonville, FL, he joined a number of Jazz groups, and became a fan of Mike Stern, Lee Ritenour, and George Benson. He was honored to take several master classes with one of his heroes, the legendary Pat Martino, and played with his brother in a popular Contemporary Jazz band called Surge, which produced several albums.
The commercial jazz sound of the time allowed him to integrate Latin American rhythms and styles. He became a fan of Strunz and Farah and Acoustic Alchemy, and soon became versed in Flamenco style. Along with Walter Eaton of the Classics IV, he produced an album of Latin material and later published his much loved song, MaÃ±ana en Madrid.
He spent much of this time performing with artists such as the Groove Inc Band, Alphonso Horne, and Segue, become well versed in motown, funk, and R&B styles. During this time, he toured all of Korea, performing for US troops and Koreans alike as part of the US Army MWR program.
Recently, he toured with Jimmy Parrish and the Ocean Waves Band, which allowed him to lend Caribbean, Reggae, and contemporary Island flavors to his style.
Presently, Dusty is touring the world with the Godfather of Soul, the legendary Al Green. Performing on stages from London to Madrid and television shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he has remained incredibly busy in 2008. This experience has brought his talent to the forefront, and has proved that he is one of the most versatile guitarists in the nation.
When not on tour, he enjoys performing locally, giving master classes and clinics, and spending time with his wife, Alenna, and his fish, Cole. ~ Shane Barber