Nashville Genius Bobby Bare Jr. Returns to the Village Idiot Oct. 1Published: 09/29/2010 7:00 am By: Ryan A. Bunch
For my money, Bobby Bare Jr. is one of the greatest living songwriters in America. Since 2002, he has released three of my favorite albums of the last ten years.
Initially striking success as Bare Jr. in the wave of the early '90s grunge movement, Bobby Bare Jr. abandoned the land of radio success to focus on making quirky neo country-rock that was composed strictly on his own terms.
The son of Nashville royalty - his Dad, Bobby Bare Sr., is an outlaw country legend, and the man who's the secret missing link between Shel Silverstein and Johnny Cash's collaboration on "A Boy Named Sue" - Bobby Bare Jr. has Music City deep in his blood.
Sined to the epicly cool Bloodshot Records label, and operating largely under the radar of even the hippest of the blogosphere, Bobby Bare Jr. is one of my favorites not just because he's a great songwriter, but because he does whatever he wants all the time, and it's almost always perfect.
In Bare Jr.'s records you'll find a backbone of the outlaw country which I suspect he couldn't shake from his roots if he tried, glossed over with '90s-ish grunge guitar, classic underground quirk pop a la The Pixies, The Replacements, Silver Jews and Pavement, and then a wild card of musicality mixed in, from classic lap steel to jazz horns, to what sometimes sounds like playful children's records. At any given time, his session band includes members of My Morning Jacket, ... And You'll Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Silver Jews, and countless other indie notables.
At once raw, tender, funny, weird, charming, sad, and exciting, Bobby Bare Jr.'s songs are entirely their own, with a mixture of well-crafted lyrics and continually surprising arrangements.He has the rare ability - which I assumed he soaked up from hanging with his dad's pal, Shel - of writing songs that are melodically fascinating, inspiringly clever and funny, and just heart-wrenchingly insightful.
To top things off, he's got a personality as big as a room, and a band that can help him fill it up. Typically, it's one of the best shows you'll see in town. Lucky for us, he loves the "nuts" and "yahoos" over at the Village Idiot, so he makes a point to stop there whenever passing through the Midwest. I recommend you check out the show. I doubt you'll be disapointed.