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The Lift 180 Main St, Dubuque, IA, USA

Sunday June 1


The Lift

Doors at 9pm/Show at 10pm


Bobby Bare JR -guitar and butt noises

Mr. Jimmy- keyboards and camouflage
(ghostfinger, jamie lidell, lucero)

Rob Crowell - bass, sax, keys, Canadian knowledge
(deer tick)

Jerry Pentacost- drums and cereal opinions.
(sound and shape, phantom farmer)

Bobby Bare, Jr. could’ve phoned in a career. He could’ve
exploited the fact that he’s the son of iconic Country
Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare, was born into Nashville’s
Music Row elite, and counted artists like Shel Silverstein
as close family friends and George Jones and Tammy
Wynette as next door neighbors. Instead, Bobby blazed
a path of unique songwriting craftsmanship with a voice
that blows through you like an unyielding wind on the
desolate prairie. Undefeated is BBJ’s first release since
2010 and what he calls his “break-up record,” but the
whole of it is much more involved: this isn’t escapism;
it’s an emotional survival guide. Undefeated is ten
songs of reality checks, clever wordplay, and daring
arrangements, the aural companion to that buddy who
pulls up a bar stool next to yours to help soak away your
Like a bespectacled, curly haired prizefighter whose
opponent is on the ropes, Bobby goes at each release as
if it might be his last round, focused, and full of energy
and purpose. Undefeated is no different. The song list is
a war chest of formidable uppercuts (e.g. distorted pop
rock gems “North of Alabama By Mornin’” and “Don’t
Stand At the Stove”), eye-splitting right jabs (open
and orchestral “Don’t Wanna Know” and “The Elegant
Imposter”), and sneaky left hooks (the crescendoing “As
Forever Became Never Again”).
Undefeated is an album of distinct balance, but with
raw and varied textures. “North of Alabama By Mornin’”
leads with a murky, palm-muted electric guitar and
striding, crunchy organ backbeat; a combination that is
undeniably kinetic à la Humble Pie’s ‘70s boogie grooves
and sinister and sexy, like a Southern doppelganger to
Greg Dulli/The Twilight Singers. Bare Jr.’s ghostly high/low
vocal layers echo the bleak picture of a metaphorical
road trip, when his confidence slips, “Am I holding the
steering wheel or is it holding me?/ The transmission is
slipping like a pigeon through a tiger’s teeth.” By the
song’s finale, though, jubilant yelps (“Oh! Ho! Ho! We’re
goin’ home!”) and the electric guitar’s pinch-harmonic
wailing, indicate that things are headed in the right

What’s most striking about BBJ is his proficiency with
a broad sonic palette that fluently conjures uncommon
impressions of life’s soul-arresting experiences. “The Big
Time” is rock ‘n’ roll reinterpreted through the lens of
soulful pedaled bass, celebratory and punchy brass, and
the facade of big-city talk (“You’re gonna miss me after I
hit the big time/ Gonna get brand new famous friends.”).
In “Blame Everybody (But Yourself)” the band – Young
Criminals’ Starvation League – taps into a piano-inflected
British invasion/Herman’s Hermits sort of vibe, blended
with the melancholic echo chamber aesthetic of My
Morning Jacket.
At other moments, Bobby channels his country DNA
(like in the Hayes Carll co-penned “My Baby Took
My Baby Away”), mirror-ball gazing ‘70s R&B/soul
(“Undefeated”), and bright ballads from the hills and
hollers of Venice Beach (“If She Cared”). From anyone
else, this refusal to play it on the straight and narrow
would sound cluttered and disjointed, but Bobby never
breaks a sweat.

Visit us
il 2 June 2014



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