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30 Mandy Barnett & Sammy Nestico: Every Star Above

Interview Summary

“I don’t know if someone like that ever retires, you never stop being a musician.”

Mandy Barnett

At age 95, Sammy Nestico started writing music for what would become his last project, the album Every Star Above featuring Mandy Barnett. 

Sammy Nestico wrote for musicians like Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Bing Crosby, Michael Buble, and of course, the legendary Count Basie orchestra. Mandy Barnett says “He just exuded warmth, which you could hear in his arrangements. You could tell what kind of person he was by the music he wrote.”

Mandy is a legend of her own as well. Though her career up to this point mainly focused on the country and bluegrass music she grew up hearing in East Tennessee, she’s never forgottenthe big band music her grandmother used to play. When presented with an opportunity to record music from the Billie Holiday album Lady in Satin, Mandy leapt at the chance, saying it’s one of her favorite records. 

The combination of talent from Sammy Nestico, Mandy Barnett, and the 60-piece orchestra behind her is simply stunning. Listen to the full episode to hear more from Mandy about what it was like working with Sammy Nestico, the recording process, and how she went from country to the Great American Songbook. 


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