I was in Nashville, standing in line at a food/music festival, when this guy behind me hears my voice, recognizes me and says, “Hey, Bob Boilen! Bobby Bare Jr. here. I’ve been hoping to play your desk.” Truth be told, I’d been hoping to make that happen, too. And so the deal was sealed over a pork bun. Thirty minutes later, at the same festival, Bare was on stage with his dad, the country legend Bobby Bare Sr., and Kings Of Leon. That’s Nashville for you.
Bobby Bare Jr. is a sharp-witted guy whose love/hate relationship with Nashville comes from a life surrounded by music; he was raised by country singers and even had his own name on a hit record when he was only 8. The Tiny Desk seemed a perfect place for the lighthearted sound he crafts with his funny, piano-playing collaborator, Matt Rowland. At times, Bare sings about promising “to get more famous friends” (in “The Big Time”) and pokes fun at the music business in Nashville. He writes with acidic wit — “You don’t even need to sing on key / Producers with computers can fix it all in Nashville, Tennessee” — in lines worthy of young Bobby’s mentor, Shel Silverstein.
- “Don’t Wanna Know”
- “The Big Time”
- “Visit Me In Music City”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Susan Hale Thomas, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Susannah Whittle; photo by Susan Hale Thomas/NPR