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Published: Thursday, 11/9/2006

Bobby Bare, Jr., blazes his own musical trail

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Bobby Bare, Jr., performs in a 10 p.m. concert Saturday in the Village Idiot, 309 Conant St., Maumee. Also playing is Centro-Matic. Tickets, available at the Village Idiot, are $12 in advance or $15 Saturday night. Bobby Bare, Jr., performs in a 10 p.m. concert Saturday in the Village Idiot, 309 Conant St., Maumee. Also playing is Centro-Matic. Tickets, available at the Village Idiot, are $12 in advance or $15 Saturday night.
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When Bobby Bare, Jr., was growing up, his dad would invite some buddies over to play poker, down a few drinks, and shoot the breeze.

The guys would ask young Bobby to run into the kitchen and grab them some beers, and in exchange, he got to listen to their stories.

It's a pretty typical tale of a kid growing up in the late '60s and early '70s - until you consider that Bobby is the son of a country music great whose poker buddies were Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson, and Shel Silverstein.

Exposure to such important musicians and writers didn't faze Bobby, Jr., except to cement the idea in his head that great artists are normal people, just like him.

"I knew that these guys were actual tangible people; they weren't like some kind of faraway star in the sky" Bare said in a telephone interview from his home in Nashville. "They were gearheads and talked about chasing girls all the time, and I thought they were like my buddies I grew up with. I wasn't that intimidated by it."

Now a musician on his own with a family that includes two young children, Bare is setting out on a course that is significantly different from his father's. His music, which will be featured Saturday in the Village Idiot in Maumee, is a creatively restless mix of warped rock that always zigs when it seems like it should zag. The songs on his latest album, "The Longest Meow," are a ragtag bunch of rockers and confessionals that were recorded in just 11 hours with members of My Morning Jacket and ... And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.

There are no cliches on "Meow," his third on the Bloodshot Records label, and no polish either. Instead there's a raucous looseness and a sense of going for broke on each song.

"I knew it would be a blast. I knew it would have vibe to it, and I really wanted the sound of people making music all at the same time rather than the piecework of overdubs," Bare said.

Bare first recorded with his father - who was best known for the country songs "Come Sundown" and "Marie Laveau" - on a duet when he was just 5 years old. Still close to his dad, he has long been much more of a rocker.

"He likes some of it and doesn't like some of it. He doesn't really like loud music. He's an old guy."

Bare grew up in Nashville and was rocked by tragedy at age 9.

"My sister [who was 15] died when I was 9 and then the family goes completely insane after that and every family I know has some major heavy stuff like that in the middle of the family," he said.

He believes the tragedy is responsible for the dark cast of many of his lyrics.

Bare's latest disc has received national media attention, including a recommendation in Esquire magazine, which calls it one of the three best new discs in stores now. He's nonplussed by the attention and said he doesn't spend much time listening to the disc or analyzing it.

"I don't have to buy my own record," Bare said, laughing heartily. "I'm the last person to ask about how I feel about my own music because I don't know. There's performing the record and listening to the record, and I always say it's like doing your hair and makeup in a dark room with no mirror. You don't know what you've done. You really don't know."

Bobby Bare, Jr., performs in a 10 p.m. concert Saturday in the Village Idiot, 309 Conant St., Maumee. Also playing is Centro-Matic. Tickets, available at the Village Idiot, are $12 in advance or $15 Saturday night.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com

or 419-724-6159.



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