Happy Barbershop Music Appreciation Day!

That instantly recognizable close harmony, those dulcet ringing chords – barbershop quartet music is a centerpiece of American Music, and today we honor this genre with Barbershop Music Appreciation Day. Despite the popularity of barbershop quartet music, its origins are still unclear, though one strong opinion is that the style originated in its namesake – barbershops.

Barbershop music has appeared on shows like The Simpsons (remember the Be Sharps?), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Family Guy, as well as adopted by musical acts like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Even Disneyland has its own famous barbershop quartet, called the Dapper Dans.

To celebrate this distinctive American music genre, we’ll be taking a look at its history and sharing some of our favorite barbershop tracks with you.

Will you be celebrating this holiday?

Timeline

Origins – Late 19th Century

Theory 1

In the later half of the 19th century, U.S. barbershops served as community gathering centers where African American men would socialize. While waiting their turn, they would harmonize, vocalizing folk songs, spirituals, and popular songs. From these impromptu gatherings sprung a new style that consisted of unaccompanied, four-part, close-harmony singing.

White minstrel singers later adopted this style, and in the early days of the recording industry their performances were recorded and sold. Songs like “Hello, Ma Baby” and “Sweet Adeline” were very popular between 1900 and 1919 but eventually faded into obscurity in the 1920s. (Wikipedia)

Theory 2

Some researchers argue that barbershop quartet music is a tradition invented in the 1940s by the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet singing in America, (SPEBSQSA) while determining the rules for singing contests. The group related barbershop music to several musical features popular around 1900, including quartet singing and the barbershop chord. (Wikipedia)

Revival – 1938

Tax lawyer Owen C. Cash wanted to save the barbershop style from the threat of radio, so he founded the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA). The lengthy name was designed to poke fun at the multi-initial names of Roosevelt’s many New Deal agencies. They later renamed themselves the much more palatable Barbershop Harmony Society.

Today thousands of quartets and choruses are registered with the society.

Female barbershop music exists too – on July 13, 1945, Edna Mae Anderson of Tulsa, Oklahoma invited her friends to her home to sing. Their husbands were members of the Barbershop Harmony Society. On that evening, they formed the Sweet Adelines, which is now an international organization for female singers.

Discography

A few videos featuring some excellent Barbershop music. If you’ve got more tunes  you’d like to add to the list, leave a comment below or give us a shout out on Facebook.

Storm Front – Lida Rose

The Music Man – Barbershop Quartet

Old School – Little Town in the Old Country Down / I Want a Girl

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Video: The Royal Shave

There’s nothing quite like getting the Royal Shave with an experienced barber – we should know, we named our company after it! Whether you’re considering a professional wet shave for the first time or are a veteran of the barber’s chair, we think you’ll enjoy this video of a full straight razor shave at Geo. F. Trumper barbershop in London.

In the video, the master barber also offers excellent tips on how to shave effectively with a straight razor.

For our full range of Geo. F. Trumper grooming products, visit RoyalShave. You’ll find all the essentials for a safe and pleasurable straight razor shave!

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V’s Barbershop

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We were lucky enough to get an interview with the master behind V’s Barbershop, Jim CEO and Founder, V’s Barbershop shared with us his experience owning a barbershop.

1. Where are you located?

We were founded and still headquartered in Phoenix, AZ.  We currently have 20 V’s opened in 9 states.

2. When did you start this business?

1999

3. When did you realize you wanted to be a barber?

I am not a barber.  However, I realized in 1998 that I could not find an authentic, upscale barbershop anywhere in the United States, so I started V’s.

4. Describe a few steps you took to become a barber.

We get asked all the time on the best way to become a barber.  We suggest that they research barber schools in their area and make sure that the school they choose has a good reputation and is well thought of by the state Barber Board for graduating well trained barbers.  We also suggest that if they do not like to communicate with others then not to bother with barber school.  Lastly, we have found that those with artistic ability make the best barbers, so we always ask if they can draw and if they can, we encourage them to look into barbering as a profession.

5. How would you deal with a customer who didn’t know what they wanted? 

We train our barbers at V’s to make sure that they and the patron fully understand the cut before they begin.  Since we are not a “quick cut” or “chop shop”, we always take as much time as is needed to fully understand the patron’s wishes.

6. Are woman allowed in your barbershop? 

Yes, and we have many come in with their sons and wait while his hair is cut.  Kids are a big part of any successful barbershop and we do our best to make sure that not only do we give our kids our best effort, but also try to make sure that his mom enjoys he wait as well.

7. What are some of your accomplishments as a Barber? 

We have won literally hundreds of awards through the years.  I am most proud of being named “Best Barbershop” by Phoenix Magazine 10 times.  This is “the” list to be named to in Phoenix and we have fortunate to have been named so many times.

8. Who are some of your favorite barbers? 

We have well over 100 barbers throughout all of our shops and many are my favorites.  We employ some of the best barbers in the United States and I am proud that any of them can cut my hair.  We also perform over 20,000 shaves a year at V’s and with kind of volume and experience, I would put the V’s barbers up against anyone in the world at straight-edge shaving.

9. What do you believe makes a quality hairstyle, cut and groom? 

Attention to detail and the ability to execute the patron’s desire.  In the end, all barbers are the same – the ones that care the most, make the most.

10. What makes your barbershop different to others? 

V’s started the resurgence of the authentic barbershop in 1999.  Almost all of the shops that have popped up since have been influenced by our attention to detail, execution and success.  Throughout our existence, we have been well served by never straying from the authenticity of our shops, services or mission.

11. Where do you get your inspiration? 

Going to the barbershop with my dad when I was a kid and then bringing my son to the barbershop when he was young.

12. What advice do you have for aspiring barbers? 

Learn that cleanliness, sanitary practice, quality services and saying thank you are key to success.  Also, the successful barber realizes that the other barbers in the shop have rent to pay and mouths to feed, so encouraging their success will lead to a better functioning shop and more money for all.

13. Explain what a barbershop means to you. 

It is a community place for guys where a little show is put on every day and the experience stays with you after you leave the shop.

14. Where can readers find out more about you and your work?  

www.vbarbershop.com  

Facebook

Google V’s Barbershop.

V’s Barbershop Locations

44 43 15 The-Works-(2)

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