CD Review: Bobby Bare Jr. — A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head; Playing The EARL, September 21

Bobby Bare Jr.
A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head
Naked Albino Recordings

By Micah McLain

The majority of Bobby Bare Jr.’s recordings take a while to really get into your head and settle in, and his latest album is no exception. Although he stays mostly within the realm of alt-country, his lyrics and subject matter range from unique to flat-out weird. The one constant in Bare Jr.’s music is that it’s all pretty damn catchy once you spend some time with it.

He spent four years writing the 13 songs included on the album before recording them in a “huge log cabin” with his good friend/engineer/co-writer/producer David Vandervelde. They knocked out the entire album in two days (taking twice as long as on his previous LP). The title track was inspired by a Nashville storm that that sent a tree crashing through his parent’s house, pinning his mother beneath its branches. “A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head” is a somber ode to the events of that day, with plenty of steel guitar and affectingly straightforward lyrics like “There is a tree laying on her head/And that tree don’t care if she’s alive or dead” that start to bring you down before a gritty, soaring guitar solo carry you back up … although you can still hear his mother screaming in the background (FYI: Both his parent’s house and his mother made a full recovery within a year).

Another great guitar solo, this time with an accompanying organ, supports “Swollen But Not The Same,” a track that offers a bit of insight into a military recruits first day on the job. Co-written with his father, country legend Bobby Bare Sr., “One Of Us Has Got To Go” is a signature Bare Jr. tune describing the tough decisions that a broken-hearted man goes through as he attempts to decide which member of his love triangle must be killed. This is another example of a song that shouldn’t be near as much fun as it actually is. The wildest lyrics on the record belong to the rockabilly-influenced “Rock and Roll Halloween,” the tale of a crazy night in Atlanta that includes gems such as “I saw Elvis – make out with Jesus in a yellow limousine” and “Pregnant nun – pregnant bride – pregnant guy hittin on me” – I need to find this party next month. Bare Jr. is a true individual who simply makes the kind of music that he feels like playing. “But I Do,” the final track on “A Storm – A Tree – My Mother’s Head” even has it’s own walk off music that is divided into a separate track and fittingly titled “But I Do (Walk Off Music)” – rock ‘n’ roll man.

Bobby Bare Jr. plays The EARL, September 21.


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