FINDLAY — Fall could be the perfect time of year for more than a few upcoming acts in the area, none more so than the Americana folk band Barbaro, which is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay.

When Barbaro comes to town, they’ll be bringing to the stage what may at first appear to be a bluegrass style, but it’s all very different.

“We’re an acoustic quartet that plays, as we like to say, folk-Americana with some chamber influences,” said Kyle Shelstad, who plays guitar. “The two members of the band, Rachel and Jason (Calvert and Wells), who play fiddle and bass, they come from a big classical background. So Jason plays in many symphonies in the Midwest. And Rachel grew up playing that kind of music. And so we get a bit of a chamber atmosphere, for lack of a better word. We’ve also been called bluegrass music, but if you’re a bluegrass purist, you’ll strongly disagree. So we tend to take a slightly more thoughtful approach to the music.”

While each member came together to define the band’s Midwestern sound, they began with different tastes.

“So we all played music in different ways,” Shelstad said. “I was in a band from Montana for a while, and while touring the Midwest I met Isaac (Samis) on banjo when he was playing in another band. A few years passed and I moved to Minneapolis, where I met Isaac and said, “Let’s start playing together.” We went through a few different musicians with the band until we met Rachel and just invited her to come play a show with us and it was really good. Also, my roommate’s girlfriend plays cello in Minneapolis and does a lot of chamber orchestra work. And she said that she knows someone in this world who wants to try to do something a little different. And that’s when we met Jason, and Jason just came to our first meeting and basically knew the tunes better than we did. And so it was also a perfect fit. This whole bloc probably gathered in 2019.”

What makes this sound unique is the care Barbaro puts into it, down to the note.

“I think, I think what’s important is that every band is intentional,” Shelstad said. “But with a lot of what we do, every little thing catches your eye, either from how these tunes are structured to how some of these banjo or fiddle tunes can be a little more nerdy. But I think another thing we really like is the breath and patience in the music, not trying to rush things, but really developing a sense of emotion to support the lyrics.”

That sound will even take Barbaro to countries on the other side of the world through the American Music Abroad program.

“This is a program run by the US State Department,” Shelstad said. “They’re working with embassies around the world and they’re doing these tours of countries where they’re trying to build a diplomatic relationship that started in the ’50s with some of the great jazz artists who went around the world for cultural exchange. And so we are very happy about it. From approximately 400 applicants, 10 bands were selected. And that’s why next May we will go on a tour of Turkey, Bulgaria and Qatar.”

But until then, Barbaro is enjoying the niche he’s begun to carve in the Midwest, especially in Ohio.

“They should be thrilled, because we really are,” Shelstad said. “We’ve been to Ohio a few times in the past and we always really enjoy it. We meet a lot of great music lovers among the people we meet there in the crowd, so we played to make everyone very respectful. But I think if you’re looking for a musical experience, if you don’t really want to dance per se, but if you want to come and have a thoughtful, listening experience, I think you’ll really enjoy the show.”

And if you’re still looking for more Barbaro after their performance, you’re in luck.

“Well, we’re also working on a new album right now,” said Shelstad. “It will be released in the fall of next year. We worked on it with Brian Joseph. He is an engineer and producer from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He has worked with Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens and Paul Simon. So we’re really excited that last year we released a cover mini-album benefiting a local Minneapolis nonprofit that supports English language learning for immigrant adults and housing and food resources, things like that.”


What: Barbaro at the concert

If: 19:30 on October 13

Where: Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, Findlay

Price: $15-$50, available online at

Contact Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.