Bobby Bare Jr., with the Old 97s

Even folks who love "Detroit City" and other hits by Bobby Bare Sr. would be thoroughly bored by Bobby Jr. if he were interested only in aping his famous father. Fortunately, the younger Bare is no country-outlaw manqué. Rather, he's a musical synthesist who mixes rock and roots music with a splash of C&W to achieve an idiosyncratic sound that's as amusing as it is personal. On From the End of Your Leash, recently issued by the Bloodshot imprint, Bare affectionately lampoons the family profession on "Visit Me in Music City," noting that "You don't even have to sing on-key / Producers with computers can fix it all in Nashville, Tennessee." He exhibits similar devotion to another genre on "Let's Rock & Roll"; his observation that there is "vomit running down the walls" of a dingy club could hardly be more loving. Still, his best moment may be "That Motherfucker," a hidden track in which he (literally) swears he doesn't want to treat his baby wrong but subsequently concedes that "blame is better to give than to get." Such wisdom would do his old man proud, but Bobby Sr.'s namesake is very much his own man. He seems to have no interest in being anything other than himself.


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