An award-winning novelist as well as a musician, songwriter, performer and adventurer, it’s easy to understand why Cabot Barden was befriended by Clive Cussler: they are cut from the same bold cloth. Here’s five reasons (among many!) Cabot is one to watch and be inspired by.
Cabot Barden is a native of Sylacauga, Alabama. Since the age of 14, he has played in bands and has continued to do so much of his adult life. He and his band have opened for the likes of Mickey Gilley, Jan & Dean, Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, and others.
A member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, ASCAP, he is also an honorary member of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, once owned by his friend Clive Cussler. Clive, who passed in February 2020, was a best-selling author whose novel The Sahara was made into a movie in 2005.
#2 & #3: SONGWRITER & SINGER
Bardon wrote the original score for the movie Sahara, and though it didn’t make the final cut, one of the songs titled “ The Quest” became a fan favorite, with airtime in Italy as well as the USA. Cabot credits Matthew McConaughey for promoting the song.
Inspired by his friend Clive Cussler and a desire to start another venture as a novelist, Barden asked Cussler “What should I write about?” Cussler’s reply was “Write what you know” – so began Barden’s career as a writer of books. His first novel was published in 2011.
Of Native American descent, Barden’s grandmother was born into the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBIC). Eastern Cherokees do not live on a reservation (land given to Native Americans by the federal government). In the early 1800s tribal members purchased 57,000 acres of property known as the Qualla Boundary. In 1838 the U.S. government stepped in and divided the nation, with militias forcing over 15,000 Cherokees from various regions including Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. Those removed were relocated to what is now called Oklahoma.
The Cherokee Nation is steeped in history, a colorful testament of resilience and tenacity. History offers a wealth of interest regarding America’s indiginous people. As a member himself of the Aniyunwiya Tribe of Cherokees in Guntersville, Alabama, Barden has written books based on his Native American heritage, including The Cherokee Kid series, three books based on a character known as John Welch. In that series are Treasure of Deadman’s Pass, The Trouble Magnet, and End of The Trail. The last is his 16th and latest published novel – with two more in the works!
Many of his book signings have taken place at Pow Wows, especially before the pandemic.
Barden is also the Vice President of the Central Alabama Writers Guild Alliance (CAWGA) and owns the publishing company “Bestseller Publishers”.
Storytelling has existed for thousands of years, its beginnings most likely held around campfires.
A basic form of communication, a storyteller relates and shares moments of distinction, episodes of life with all its twists and turns. That story is passed along from generation to generation and takes on a life all its own. True storytelling is an art and was particularly used to pass colorful events of historical significance along throughout the ages.
Barden shared with me a true story about Selocta Chinnabee, a man who saved Fort Leslie in his book I Will War No More, regarding Chinnabee’s death:
“In 1835, Selocta was riding home from a tavern in Talladega County, drunk, leaning off the back of his horse while racing his friend Jim Fife. His head hit a tree which killed him, making Selocta the first DUI or RUI – riding under the influence – fatality of Talladega County. A man who went through the Creek Indian War in its entirety, with almost nary a scratch, then gets killed while riding his horse under the influence of alcohol. Kind of ironic when you think about it. They buried him and his horse (they shot the horse for killing him) under his house. Now there is a concrete slab over his grave with a tombstone engraved with his likeness, where his house once sat. It now rests in someone’s front yard, five feet from the roadway near Cheaha Mountain, the highest peak in Alabama.”
(Thank you for sharing this, Cabot, but I think they should have shot the bartender, not the horse. Just saying.)
Cabot Barden has authored 16 books, including The Train From Tombstone series as well as the Cherokee Kid series. His first novel, The Bass Player, was endorsed by Clive Cussler and was runner-up for the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in 2011. Set in the 1970s, the novel takes us on the journey of a teenager and his band which started in his garage and ends up on tour.
In 2012, his novel Toby’s Mixed Blessings received The Pinnacle Award, and Dynamite Runs In The Family received a Thumbs Up award from The New York Times.
Shamrocks and Skallywags again won The Pinnacle Award in 2015 for historical fiction. Cussler also endorsed the novel Shillelaghs and Scoundrels, published in 2015.
In 2016 he was listed on the Bestseller Publishers list for I Will War No More, The Ghost Walker, and Muscogee Red Dawn.
The storytelling list continues to grow, now including a first-time children’s book titled Cabbit The Rabbit, released in 2020.
AND WHAT THE HECK, BONUS #6: ADVENTURER
There’s plenty to admire about Cabot Barden, but he deserves a bonus entry as a true adventurer – simply because he never stops expanding his creative horizons. He started as a teenager with playing music…then writing music…and then moving into expansive storylines writing sci-fi, historically informed fiction and non-fiction, and is now exploring the lighter side with children’s stories. It’s a brave thing to map a place you’ve never been, and then move on to a new place to do the same – all the while looking for a new story to tell.
Cabot Barden still resides in Alabama along with his family and continues his creative adventures. His books can be found and purchased online, in print or e-book, on Amazon.com.