Debuting in 2011 with their album Footwork, and they're currently touring on behalf of their latest release, Figures of the Year, including opening for well-known Americana duo, The Milk Carton Kids. Although The Barefoot Movement's music is largely organic with Americana and bluegrass sounds, they explore varied themes of emotionality, memories and dreamy harmonies. The band hails from Johnson City, Tennessee.
We had the privilege of interviewing The Barefoot Movement to preview their upcoming performance at Eddie's Attic, and they chat about how the band formed, their name, musical background, and much more. Discover more about this interesting and intriguing band:
What led to the formation of The Barefoot Movement and how did the group decide on the name of the band?
Tommy and I met in high school and starting playing music together. Through the years we had different band members but this lineup formed when I met Hasee at East Tennessee State University where we were both studying Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music. We met Alex through a mutual friend when we needed a guitarist and he's been with us ever since!
What are each of you guys' musical background?
My mom and grandfather are both singers and songwriters. They both played guitar but my Papa specialized in electric bass. Tommy's dad played the drums, so that was his first instrument. He got into rock music in high school and started playing electric guitar. In college he studied classical guitar, and picked up the mandolin when he fell for folk music! Alex's dad had an old guitar in a closet that caught little Alex's eye. He used to sneak in the room and play it. He also has a musical family, filled with singers. Hasee's mom is an awesome singer and Hasee grew up singing with her and their friends in their living room and at church.
If you weren't pursuing music, what do you think you'd be doing?
I'm speaking for the band here, but I'm guessing that if Hasee weren't a musician, she'd be making some kind of handmade, awesome, artistic craft, like working with wood or leather or paint. She spent some time in high school building sets for the theater department so maybe something along those lines. Tommy would probably be in computer programming of some kind. Alex is really interested in the way stuff works when it comes to processes in nature. He almost majored in biology so maybe he'd somehow be working in that field. As for me, I majored in broadcasting, and I enjoyed working on the radio and television projects. So maybe an anchorwoman?
Which is harder; composing the music or writing it?
It's hard to say. Some songs are really hard to finish writing. Some songs just flow easily and can be finished in a day. But the arranging is always very time consuming because that's when you incorporate the ideas of three other people. It's so important to have that, different points of view, but you have to be in the mindset and ready to weigh a lot of options.
What are five albums or bands you wouldn't want to live without?
I'll try to name a few for each of us. Hasee is really crazy about Donna the Buffalo and anything surrounding Jerry Garcia or Steve Winwood. Alex loves the guitar playing of Tommy Immanuel and the writing of Paul Simon. Tommy loves all kinds of music, as we all do, but more than the rest of us, he enjoys a lot of jazz like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. I couldn't live without Neil Young, Pink Floyd, or Led Zeppelin.
Who was each of your first concerts, and do you have a favorite one?
The first concert I remember was Hootie and the Blowfish. I was in the second grade. Tommy's first concert was Zoso, a Led Zeppelin tribute band, but his favorite is probably Roger Waters' "The Wall." I would say that Hasee's favorite is probably Nickel Creek. She saw them once on their "Farewell for Now" tour, so needless to say, she is stoked about their recent return. All of us are. Alex's was a great one - Lynyrd Skynyrd.
What was your first album on cassette, vinyl and/or CD?
The first cassette I ever had was Tom Petty's single "Free Fallin." Tommy says his first was the Barenaked Ladies album Stunt. Hasee's first cassette was Hanson when she was three or four. I definitely had that record too. Alex's was Tab Benoit "Nice and Warm."
What is your guilty musical or entertainment pleasure?
I love 80's hair metal and I don't really feel too guilty about it. Tommy has a soft spot for video game music, like stuff from Final Fantasy. Hasee is all about the techno. Alex - Weird AL!
Is there any music that makes you cringe?
I really don't enjoy the modern techno-pop stuff. Tommy and I definitely disagree on the 80's stuff, because he's not really into that. Hasee too. Hair metal, is only loved by me in this band. Alex says, anything with too much autotune. I think we can all agree on that.
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