Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
Mr. Bobby Bare Jr. is a father. He's probably one of those doting daddies and being on the road, away from home probably drives him crazy. It really does probably make him crazy, but no more so than normal, as he's maintained a comfortable balance of the manic and sane man for years and years now. The good news for Bare Jr. is that he's had an entire life to reflect on how he was going to be as a father in a similar situation to the one that his daddy had to deal and fight with. It's never sounded as if it were a simple life or one without great sadness and longing. Those feelings seem to have spilled over into his general countenance, giving him a reluctant vulnerability that, while guarded and protected most of the time, gets exposed in magnificent ways through his songs and elsewhere. I can only imagine the kind of blubbering and bawling wreck he was at the moment that he held his child for the first time. I picture him as this man who can't control his happiness, his joy because he can't help but carry around so much of the despicable and unwanted sadness that he's never been able to get rid of. He just totes it around with him, like a homeless man shuffling through the big city streets with a commandeered shopping cart loaded and draped with all of his earthly belongings - there with him always - as protective of his trash as he is of his treasure. Bare Jr. seems to protect his pain as much as he protects his happiness and it comes out in his music in the form of a worried heart. It's a worry that he won't be there for the ones he loves and that the ones he loves won't be there for him when he needs them the most. And there might not be a scarier feeling in all the world - this feeling, not necessarily of being alone and forgotten, but of being alone and remembered or alone and remembering and completely fucking helpless.
*Essay originally published April, 2011