Bobby Bare Jr.JPG
Toby Woodruff
Bobby Bare Jr. having a serious moment.
Bobby Bare Jr.

Tractor Tavern

Thursday, March 24

For Bobby Bare Jr., the son of Nashville

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Bobby Bare Jr. at the Top of His Game: Drunk and Funny at the Tractor Last Night

Bobby Bare Jr.JPG
Toby Woodruff
Bobby Bare Jr. having a serious moment.
Bobby Bare Jr.

Tractor Tavern

Thursday, March 24

For Bobby Bare Jr., the son of Nashville country singer Bobby Bare Sr., the shadow of his father is just that--a shadow. They're both from Nashville and play country music, but Bare Jr.'s rowdy, anthemic Americana is a twisted, different breed than his dad's, though you can sense a healthy respect between the two--"I'll play my father's songs when he plays my songs," he joked during his show last night at the Tractor, when someone called out one of this dad's tunes. Visibly under the influence (a fact the singer bluntly confirmed after the show: "I was drunk"), Bare Jr. was still in top form and greeted a scattered but enthusiastic crowd just after 10:30 p.m.

Billed as an "acoustic trio"--as opposed to his more recognizable rock outfit--his band kept a watchful gaze on the bleary-eyed singer as he swayed about and repeatedly cleared his throat into the mike. But he was good-natured, quick with a joke, and wailed away on his severely battered Gibson guitar, channeling the spirit of family friend Shel Silverstein though his collection of warmly offbeat songs.

The floor gradually began to fill, but never felt tight during the show, and Bare, accompanied by backup vocalist Carey Kotsionis and a trumpeter/pedal/lap steel player pegged as "Portland Paul," kept the crowd roaring between songs, bantering away with stories of Kings of Leon--"They have very tight pants. I met their girlfriends. They seemed very happy. Probably because they're rich"--and Justin Townes Earle, who, according to Bare, once worked as a security guard.

As the show came to a close, the crowd seemed as distractedly intoxicated as Bare, and half-heartedly whooped for an encore. He emerged from behind the stage before the applause sputtered out, chiding "Come on!" and began tinkering around with a cover of Bob Seger's "Night Moves" before settling on America's "Sister Golden Hair," for which Portland Paul--already at the bar--trumpeted a solo across the room. For all there is to say about Bare, it's perhaps best to leave off with a few from the singer himself--he's not a man short on words, after all.

Here are a few choice zingers from my notebook:

"One hour of Bobby Bare Jr., then a break, then an hour of Bob fucking Seger."

"If someone finds my dead, bloated body in a ditch tomorrow, the cops are going to think one thing: Who loved this person? Who loved this person enough--to kill him?"

"Barry Gibb bought Johnny Cash's house and some paint fumes burned it to the ground--guess that news doesn't make it to Seattle, does it?"

"For everybody who's coming out to the house party next Wednesday, that's going to be really, really fun. Thanks for taking a chance on something weird and different."

"There's a lot of people in Nashville who make a living by playing their father's songs, and it's kind of gross . . . thank you Seattle for enabling me not to be lazy."

"I'm sorry that my voice seems to be leaving me--I spent a week in Norway . . . the whole damn place was frozen solid. I am not Norwegian, I am Tennessean."

"Let's all go buy some satisfaction."

"This is a national wife-swapping anthem--if you've got 'em, swap 'em."

"D Minor! C Major!"

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