Despite provocative titles like "Your Goat is On Fire," Bobby Bare Jr.'s A Storm, A Tree, My Mother's Head isn't immediately compelling. The elements for a country hit are here: Bare's vocals—equal parts velvet and gravel—seem perfectly tailored to classic sounding lines like, "When you said goodbye I heard hello." But there's something so soft and easy about the overall delivery that it's easy to listen without fully engaging.
Then again, I admit my feelings were similar when first listening to the pedal steel lullabies of alt-country mavericks Whiskeytown—a group I now list as a favorite. Bare's similar to that band, like watching a quiet independent film so subtle that it's only later, when you can't sleep, you realize it's itching at your brain.
"Rock and Roll Halloween" comes across kooky, with images of Marilyn Monroe dancing dirty with Darth Vader. What's weird about the song, though, isn't Bare's incessant listing of juxtaposed costumes—we've all been to a Halloween party—it's the melancholy strumming that accompanies the song, as if we're talking about something far more profound and eternal. Maybe we are. With Bare, good poetry and sleeper films, it takes some keen observation and patience before you get the pay off.
Bobby Bare Jr. plays the Badlander Monday, Sept. 13, at 9 PM, with Blue Giant. $5. The Cave:Advertising:02 Production Art:IndyLogoDingbat2002.tifBÀ#t",,"")>