Bobby Bare Jr.'s Music Falls Far from the Tree

Bobby Bare, Jr. grew up in country music's capital, Nashville, Tenn., the son of singer Bobby Bare. His storied upbringing is filled with Music City luminaries like Waylon Jennings and Jerry Reed — both friends of his father's — and he was even nominated for a country Grammy at 5 for a duet he sang with dad. The younger Bare's music, however, is anything but country.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Bobby Bare, Jr., grew up steeped in country music. The son of country singer Bobby Bare, he grew up surrounded by Nashville names such as Waylon Jennings and Jerry Reed. But the younger Bare's music is anything but country.

Meredith Ochs has a review of his latest CD.

MEREDITH OCHS: When Bobby Bare, Jr., first started writing songs, his lyrics were about being happily unemployed, living with a drunk stripper and challenging women to beat each other up over him. Fast-forward several years. Now Bare is all grown up and married with two young children. On his new CD, he even has a song called Snuggling World Championships. Of course, if you're Bobby Bare, Jr., snuggling sounds something like this.

(Soundbite of song, "Snuggling World Championships")

Mr. BOBBY BARE, JR. (Musician): (Singing) This must be love.

OCHS: Now wait a second. Did he just sing this must be love? Bobby Bare, Jr., sounds happy on this album, and when artists get happy, they tend not to do their best work. I know that's a terrible thing to say. I don't want anyone to be miserable for the sake of a song, but married life and fatherhood must really agree with Bare, because this is the best work he's done yet.

(Soundbite of music)

OCHS: His lyrics are still twisted. After all, his godfather was the late Shel Silverstein, the famed raconteur and illustrator who wrote A Boy Named Sue. And Bare's music manages to be both inventive and melodic, from his unpredictable arrangements to the deliberate phrasing that defines his singing style.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BARE: (Singing) You found me in a pile of (unintelligible). Would you raise me up and (unintelligible)? Everywhere you wanted to go, I would carry you while (unintelligible) way back to (unintelligible). And if you think I wrote this song for you, then I'm making my way back to blue.

OCHS: The thing I love most about this new Bobby Bare, Jr., CD is that it demonstrates his phenomenal range.

(Soundbite of music)

OCHS: Here's a guy whose dad is a bona fide country star, who grew up next door to George Jones and Tammy Wynette, the king and queen of country music. Yet, his first band was a hard-rock outfit that had more in common with the group Korn than country, and his first solo CD was completely different, a sort weary, rustic pop.

On this disk, Bare proves he has no limitations, effortlessly shifting from soft spoken rambles to off kilter warbling to pounding rock, like this song.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BARE: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

OCHS: Bobby Bare, Jr., may come from exceptional Nashville lineage, but on this album he proves that the best thing you can do with expectations is defy them.

SIEGEL: The new CD from Bobby Bare, Jr., is called The Longest Meow. Our reviewer is Meredith Ochs.

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