Blues-rock siren Breanna Barbara released her powerhouse LP Mirage Dreams in July of 2016, and has been making waves in the indie scene ever since. Produced by Andrija Tokic – who has recorded the likes of Alabama Shakes and Hurray For The Riff Raff – Mirage Dreams was the first of Barbara’s albums to be laid down in a proper studio. Her two prior LPs Theoria & Baby Where You Are had been self-recorded directly to her iPhone and released on Bandcamp; but after sending demos of newer work to Tokic in 2014, the producer/engineer invited Barbara to his Nashville studio The Bomb Shelter, where they got to work on Mirage Dreams.

The result is a raw rock album full of guts and chugging guitar; a collection of songs that exhibits Barbara’s skill as a guitarist as much as it does her belting vocals. Looking at her list of favorite records, which she urges are “IN NO SPECIFIC ORDER!” it is evident that Barbara has soaked up the style of her heroes…Link Wray’s distortion, Grace Slick’s volume, and Iggy Pop’s attitude. It is also apparent that Barbara is a true, bleeding-heart fan of music…so much so, that she couldn’t pick only 10 records to talk about, but had to settle on 11. We’re thrilled we got to chat with Breanna about why these records mean so much to her.

Check out Breanna Barbara’s video for “Nothin’ But Your Lovin'” below, along with her Top 11 Records, a playlist of her favorite songs, and upcoming tour dates!

BREANNA BARBARA’S TOP 11 RECORDS.

11) JESSIE MAE HEMPHILL–GET RIGHT BLUES

“When I was living in Saint Augustine I discovered I was neighbors with Dan Auerbach’s uncle, Jim Quine. We became friends and exchanged music. One day I was hanging out at his house and Jesse Mae’s ‘Go Back to Your Used to Be’ came on and it blew me away. I had never heard a voice like hers before. So simple and so good- she’s who inspired me to pick up a slide.”

10) NEIL YOUNG–DEAD MAN SOUNDTRACK

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard the Dead Man theme song. I was sitting on my friends’ floor while they had Dead Man on and I remember feeling completely displaced from where I was. I think Neil Young might be my favorite guitarist of all time too. It’s just such a moody, hypnotic album, when I listen to it I am in that world- I love when music does that to you.”

9) ALELA DIANE–THE PIRATE’S GOSPEL

“This album is so nostalgic for me. It brings me back to when I first started playing guitar and singing. There is something so ancient & pure about this record. Her lyrics and harmonies put me into this very old space, almost like another lifetime ago. Her voice is just incredible.”

8) HANK WILLIAMS–40 GREATEST HITS

“When I listen to this record I feel at home. Then I get jealous because I remember that Hank Williams Sr. already wrote all the best love songs. Can never get enough Hank Sr, never enough.”

7) MELANIE–MELANIE AT CARNEGIE HALL

“My old roommate’s sister was named Melanie. She left this record at our house. I had never heard of her before but it slowly became the only thing I would put on my record player. Everything from her quirks in between songs to her powerful belting into the Carnegie Hall audience (on her birthday too!) inspired me to write and sing music.”

6) THE STOOGES–THE STOOGES

“Dark, raunchy, straight-forward. One of my favorite bands and records of all time. When I listen to this record I am immediately placed in a fast paced dream sequence somewhere in very green park in the summertime. Makes me feel alright about everything. Also, Iggy Iggy Iggy.”

5) NINA SIMONE–I PUT A SPELL ON YOU

“Nina is one of the most ferocious goddesses there ever was. This performance on tracks like “Feelin’ Good” and “I Put a Spell on You” put me on the floor and make me reconsider everything in life.”

4) LINK WRAY–THE BEST OF LINK WRAY

“I think I’m picking too many compilations. That’s ok. This is hard! Link Wray is another one of my favorite guitarists. Listening to his music immediately puts me in a Quentin Tarantino movie and those are my favorite kinds. The record is sexy and fun.”

3) ANGEL OLSEN–BURN YOUR FIRE FOR NO WITNESS

“Where do I start with this one? Her name is Angel, she sings like an angel, she even looks like an angel. This will always be a favorite record of mine. For me it’s a perfect blend of an insanely beautiful voice mixed with catchy, Velvet Underground-y guitar sounds. And her lyrics. It’s perfect.”

2) GRACE SLICK & THE GREAT SOCIETY–GRACE SLICK & THE GREAT SOCIETY

“One of my favorites. I wish she would have made more solo records, I prefer it over the Jefferson Airplane stuff. There is a muddiness to this record that I really love. Subtle and still extremely powerful-really catchy too. I watched an interview where Grace said that she used to try to sing without a full band but her voice was just too loud for it-haha I really relate to that.”

1) LEADBELLY–ABSOLUTELY THE BEST

““Where Did You Sleep Last Night” will always be one of my favorite songs of all time. One of the first songs I covered, too. Something about this record always brings me back to what I love about music. Simple and soulful.”

Breanna Barbara Tour Dates:
03.09 – Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory w/ Blank Spaces, Winstons, Weekender
03.10 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie w/ The Snails
03.11 – Richmond, VA – Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
03.12 – Asheville, NC – The Lazy Diamond
03.13 – Nashville, TN – TBA
03.14 – Dallas, TX – The Crown and Harp w/ The Mystery Lights, Calvin Love
03.15 – Austin, TX – “Quit Your Day Job” Siren Sounds, Alt Citizen, Soft Junk Records Showcase w/ Ron Gallo, Clear Plastic Masks
03.15 – Austin, TX – SXSW Modern Sky Showcase @ Barracuda w/ Night Beats, The Mystery Lights, Chastity Belt
03.16 – Austin, TX – Onward Indian Touring Showcase Dozen Street w/ Thelma and the Sleaze, Roya, The Nude Party, Pink Mexico