Almost immediately upon arriving, I scoped out the hamster tube vent
from whence the glorious coolness flowed. Sadly, no seats were open
anywhere near it, so I had to stand awkwardly close to a couple of guys
lounging in the area.
One of them offered me a swig of his gin
& tonic. The other was Bobby Bare, Jr.
In case you're
unfamiliar, Bare is the son of famed country artist Bobby Bare, Sr. He's
also a musician in his own right, and more recently, producer of Twistable,
Turnable Man, a tribute to Shel Silverstein music featuring tracks
by My Morning Jacket, The Pixies, and Lucinda Williams to name a few.
thought I'd take the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions, and
since his options at that point were talking to me in the A/C or
ignoring me in the sweltering, breathtaking, back-breaking heat... he
happily obliged my request.
As it turns out, Bare Sr. was the
longtime producer and best friend of Mr. Silverstein, so Bare Jr. pretty
much grew up with the man behind some of the most classic stories and
iconic songs of his era.
"Somebody had to do a Shel Silverstein
record, and if somebody was going to do it,
it was going to be me and dad," he said.
I asked if, given his
personal experiences with Shel, he thought Twistable captured the
writer's true character.
"Nailed it," he said.
what was that character, I asked? Turns out, it was twisted, indeed.
worked for Playboy," Bare Jr. said with a smile on his face.
the phone. The guy who wrote the first poem I ever memorized (Sick)
was employed by the Hef? Yep, Bare Jr. confirmed... but only for the
I've heard that before.
"It would be like 'Shel
Silverstein and the Swingin' London Scene,'" Bare Jr. explained, "and
its him dancing with Twiggy or him at a body painting party. And while
he's doing that, he's writing 'Boy Named Sue' for Johnny Cash, and the
world's greatest children's books."
So, Silverstein was no
one-trick pony. He was multi-dimensional and apparently difficult to
categorize. It's fitting, then, that Twistable, Turnable Man is
the same way, showcasing the musical talents of artists from all sorts
of musical genres, artists with depth and scope.
come to think of it, are at Bonnaroo this weekend (John Prine, Kris
Kristofferson, Dr. Dog, and of course, Bobby Bare Jr.). I ask Bare if he
considered pitching a Twistable set to the festival's
produceroos. I get a "don't even go there" look at first, then a
detailed description of the set he had in mind (which involved a poetry
reading courtesy of DMB), and how Bonnaroo passed on it, a couple of
times. And then he says, with a finger pointed in the direction of,
presumably, the realm of Bonnaroo masterminds:
about how obscene it is that Bonnaroo didn't have a Shel Silverstein
Well here ya go, Mr. Bare.
Congrats on the album.
And I'd encourage you to pitch Bonnaroo on the Silverstein idea again
next year. That's a show I'd surely like to see.
And thank you,
thank you, 1000 times thank you for letting me share your little slice
of A/C heaven.