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Bobby Bare Jr.: Never boring

Bobby Bare Jr.
Bobby Bare Jr.
Joshua Black Wilkins

After a nearly four year absence from the recorded world, Nashville’s Bobby Bare Jr. is apparently making up for lost time with the release of his album Undefeated, a documentary entitled Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost), as well as the soundtrack for the film. But as he heads into New York for a Saturday show at the Mercury Lounge, he’s just happy to still be able to do what he loves after all this time.

“I’m amazed that I’ve gotten the chance to do this as long as I have,” he said. “I’m totally amazed and in awe of it; it blows my mind and I never take it for granted.”

The son of Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare Sr., Bare the younger has done something that’s almost been impossible – creating a career and identity for himself that has nothing to do with his father other than the fact that they share the same name.

“It’s kind of like he sold trucks and I’m a motorcycle salesman,” said Bare Jr. “We’re in the same business, but playing totally different clubs usually and most of my fans don’t really know who my dad is, and I’m totally okay with that.”

That doesn’t mean dad, 79, isn’t in his son’s corner.

“He loves this new album,” said Bare. “He’s hard on me when he thinks I’m getting lazy (Laughs), but for the most part he’s really supportive.”

Bare Sr. also provides an example for his son in juggling life and music, something that there is no manual for.

“I’ve been watching him do it since I was born,” said Jr., a father of three children, aged 3, 7, and 9. That’s a handful to say the least, so it’s no surprise that when asked what kept him from putting out an album after 2010’s A Storm A Tree My Mother's Head, he laughs and says “Babies, more babies, life.”

That life part informs much of Bare’s work, but especially Undefeated, which is described as his breakup record. Yet even though he dug into some deep and painful spots to write these tracks, he has no regrets about doing so.

“Any good songwriter kind of is a stripper in that if you’re not really showing your hidden, dirty parts, then nobody’s really going to pay attention,” he said. “You’re just standing out there trying to be pretty, and that’s pretty boring. You know it when you hear it or see it on stage, somebody who’s afraid to show the stuff that most people hide.”

Bobby Bare Jr. is not that guy. He’s not afraid to show those hidden parts.

Bobby Bare Jr. plays the Mercury Lounge in New York City with Cory Branan on Saturday, April 19. For tickets, click here

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