He attended Cornell University and met Pete Wernick there in 1968. Together they joined to form Country Cooking, who released two albums of bluegrass before breaking up in 1975. In 1975 Barenberg briefly began playing electric guitar with a jazz rock group, Carried Away. Late in 1975 he quit playing music, but returned in 1977, moving to New York City to play in the group Heartlands. This group also played backup on Barenberg's debut solo effort, Cowboy Calypso, in 1980.
He then moved to Boston, teaching at the Music Emporium in Cambridge. Here he played in the groups Fiddle Fever and Laughing Hands. In 1986 Barenberg moved to Nashville, where he has played often with Jerry Douglas and Maura O'Connell, and done much work as a session musician with Bela Fleck, Hazel Dickens, Mel Tillis, and Randy Travis, among others. He has released several instructional videos. In 2007, his song "Little Monk" was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Country Instrumental Performance. Read more on Last.fm.
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