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HOMETOWN ENTERTAINMENT: .38 Special lead singer previews Friday show at Dr. Pepper Park

The band is best known for hits like “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up in You”
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:28 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - With hits so recognizable, the music of the band .38 Special appeals to literally generations of fans.

“Some bands represent a lifestyle. We didn’t really represent a lifestyle. We wanted to have the memorable singalong choruses, the great hook to songs. That was my approach,” says .38 Special lead singer Don Barnes.

When asked about his favorite .38 Special song, Barnes mentioned a few.

“All these are true. There’s a lot of true stories. Hold on Loosely was about a relationship that went south,” he explains.

Behind the big hits lie true stories from Barnes’ own life.

“I was dating this woman, and I said, you know, I just can’t get any work done, I’m so caught up in you all the time. And it was just like a light bulb went off in my head, and I thought that’s a great title for a song,” says Barnes.

As they say, the rest is musical history.

After more than four decades, .38 Special still knows how to rock a stage.

On average, they perform in more than 100 cities a year.

“People come out. They want to re-live their youth. We’ve got new songs. New surprises. But I didn’t count on the nostalgic part of it. We were just trying to get on the radio,” says Barnes.

They’ve become a constant presence on the radio, after getting their start in Jacksonville, Florida in 1974.

“We were all young boys with a dream. All had day jobs, and we’d go out and practice in a band at night in a dilapidated shack somewhere,” says Barnes.

.38 Special is still rockin’, and is making a return appearance to Roanoke.

Barnes has a special connection to the Star City.

“I love Roanoke. I used to live in Charlottesville, and my son, I used to take him to the children’s museum in Roanoke and the transportation museum,” says Barnes.

While the .38 special lineup has changed over the years, Barnes has been the constant presence, doing what he loves.

“It’s a lot of sacrifice, but we have a great time. We’ve got all these-- even the new guys have been there 30 years. So, we’re rolling down the road, everybody has a great time, mutual respect. We go and unfold that history every night. It’s a great job to bring that kind of happiness to people,” says Barnes.

For ticket information for the show, click here.

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