Bobby Bare Jr.: Americana royalty, Nashville indie slacker ... or both?
Nashville-based singer/guitarist Bobby Bare Jr. and his band, The Young Criminals' Starvation League, are in the middle of yet another road trip heading toward the Carolinas. Following are the five fundamentals one should know before heading to this weekend's show.
1. He used to be an alternative rock star
Bobby Bare Jr. first earned the attention of the American public during the "commercial alternative" phenomenon of the late-1990s, fronting the guitar-heavy alt-rock band simply named "Bare Jr." The band gained acclaim in 1999 for the hard-hitting anthem "You Blew Me Off," and a year later the big guitar-rock yowl of "Brainwasher" — both off of the Boo-tay album.
2. His daddy was and still is a country music star
Bare is the son of country songwriting legend Bobby Bare, remembered best by those who followed authentic country music through the decades for such '60s hits as "500 Miles Away From Home," "Detroit City," and "Houston." Bare Jr. was nominated for a Grammy at age five for a duet with his father. Earlier this year, Bare Jr. and longtime studio and stage collaborator Marky Nevers (of Lambchop) completed work on Bobby Bare Sr.'s new album, The Moon Was Blues — the country legend's first studio album in 22 years.
3. Bare rubs elbows with the indie elite
The singer recently contributed backing vocals on the forthcoming Frank Black solo album; he also played guitar alongside most of the former members of Pavement on the forthcoming Silver Jews album. Last year, he had a few laughs with Morrissey in a Manchester airport, only a year after recording a version of The Smiths' "What Difference Does it Make."
4. Bare never knows who'll be in his touring band
Over the last four years, his backing band has included members of Trailer Bride, Lambchop, Tomahawk, The Jesus Lizard, Josh Rouse's band, and Ryan Adams' band. According to the folks at Bloodshot Records, this week's roster includes drummer Ben Martin (of Clem Snide, Lambchop), bassist Mike "Grimey" Grimes (ex-Bare Jr.), and regular core Young Criminal keyboardist Corey Yountes.
5. They always have boxes of compact discs
Bare and the band have a brand new live album titled Nick Nacks and Paddy Whacks — a follow-up to 2004's From The End Of Your Leash (Bloodshot) — culled from recent performances in Chicago, Seattle, and Amsterdam. It's available for sale only at shows.
Bobby Bare Jr. performs on Fri. Feb. 24 at the Village Tavern at 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant. Call 884-6311. Cover is $6.