Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards is “Sad Smile” by Bobby Bare Jr. from his 2010 release A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head on Thirty Tigers.
Bobby Bare Jr. has been on the scene dating back to 1974, yet A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head is his first record in four years. Named for a storm in which a tree fell onto mother Bare’s home with her, enduring without incident inside, was recorded in two days along with co-producer David Vandervelde.
Influenced by the likes of Neil Young, The Smiths and Shel Silverstein, an unlikely candidate if you discount his history with Silverstein since the age of six when he was nominated for a Grammy for a duet with his dad singing a song written by the famous poet. Since then, he has continually worked with and written with Silverstein until Silverstein’s death in 1999.
The Tennessee born and raised Bare Jr. rides the fine line between rock and country. In “Sad Smile,” he sings about finding the fine line between love and hate, among many other contradictory verses. The clincher comes at the song’s closer where a dichotomy of happy, forward moving melodies fully loaded with la-da-da’s and upbeat rhythms as they wrap a relatively sad, sad song.
He might often be see performing with his band of varying performers, Young Criminals Starvation League, and has also been known to play secret acoustic shows, aka the one last night at the Sunset Tavern under the name The Naked Albinos. If you missed him last night or at Bumbershoot this past weekend, you can also catch him LIVE on KEXP from the Doug Fir Lounge during Musicfest Northwest tomorrow at 12:30PM.
Take a gander at the video that proved to Bobby Bare Jr. that making music, doing something you love, can in fact make you a living — the “Daddy What If” duo with papa Bare.