From the End of Your Leash
The son of a Nashville country star, Bare Jr. is more than a little rock n' roll himself. He recorded with an indie-rock band that carried his name in the '90s, but his more recent work suggests he's finally found the appropriate setting for his wise-acre demeanor. His voice sacrifices pitch for a wired emotionalism that conjures up Paul Westerberg in a cowboy hat, and he's just as likely to crack a joke as he is to tug at a heartstring. (He covers "Things I Didn't Say" by Shel Silverstein, a legendary songwriter who also balanced humor with pathos.) "Valentine," a duet with Will Oldham, ambles with a frat-rock band in tow, horns blaring in raucous chaos while he opens his heart. "The Terrible Sunrise" is a sparsely picked acoustic tune where Bare sounds as if he's singing from the bottom of a well. "Visit Me In Music City," written with his dad, echoes with a lonesome musician's will to live. Bare Jr. may be young and feisty, but he road-worn all the same.