Bobby Bare Jr.’s story is not typical for a Grammy nominee. His hit, “Daddy What If,” which he sang with his father, was written by Shel Silverstein and rose to No. 2 on the country charts in 1973. They were nominated for the best country performance by a duo or group, but the Grammy that year went to the Pointer Sisters for “Fairytale.”
The parents of 5-year-old Bare Jr. put a halt to his budding stardom and refused an offer from “Hee Haw.” They wanted to keep him away from the music business and to be a regular kid — as normal a kid as you can be in close proximity to Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Reed and Silverstein.
Bare Jr. soon started the head-banging rock band Bare Jr. After five gigs, he had a publishing deal and recording contract. He was finally able to quit his bicycle repair shop job and the band toured constantly, releasing two albums on Immortal Records.
After the band broke up in 2002, Bare Jr. took a turn with his side project, recording some acoustic tracks for the alt-country independent label Bloodshot. The subsequent record, “Young Criminals, Starvation League,” included a version of Silverstein’s depressing “Painting Her Fingernails.” The album that Bare Jr. considered a side project sold 15,000 records.
Bare Jr. just released his fourth Bloodshot record, “The Longest Meow.” The 11-track album was recorded in 11 hours with an 11-member band last March. The songs run the gamut from Southern rock and glam rock boogie to a coffeehouse cover of a Pixies song. The musicians on the record include members of My Morning Jacket, Clem Snide, Lampchop and Andrew Bird.
You can expect Bare Jr’s. larger-than-life persona to shine through in his opening set for Andrew Bird this Sunday at the Music Mill.