82-year-old Hall of Famer still has what it takes
Album review by Preshias Harris
They say the more things change, the more they stay the same. One thing that has stayed with us is the talent and artistry of one of country music’s living legends, Bobby Bare.
THINGS CHANGE is the title of the new album from Bare, a Country Music Hall of Famer who has chalked up close to sixty Top Forty hits starting back in 1962. And now here is, at age 82, out there still performing and promoting his new album.
Changes are no stranger to Bare. In 1959, he wrote a song, titled “The All American Boy,” for his friend Bill Parsons, and Bare cut a demo of the song for Parsons who went on to record it. However, the record label preferred Bare’s demo version and that was the one they released, taking the song to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. But nobody thought to change the information on the label, so every copy went out printed with the artist’s name as Bill Parsons, rather than Bobby Bare.
Bare strikes gold with “Detroit City”
Bare’s luck changed for the better when he was signed to RCA Victor by the legendary Chet Atkins who could spot talent when he heard it. His second RCA single, “Detroit City” – written by Mel Tillis and Danny Dill – won Bare a GRAMMY in 1964 for Best Country/Western Recording. It was the first of many hits, including “500 Miles Away From Home” and “Four Strong Winds.”
There’s a new version of “Detroit City” on the new album, but again Bare goes for a change rather than a straight recreation of the smash hit: this time, Bare sings it as a duet with Chris Stapleton – who wasn’t even born when the original charted – and gives us a fresh new take on a song we all know so well.
The ten songs on THINGS CHANGE all find Bare in age-defying fine vocal form on cuts such as the Mary Gauthier-penned “I Drink,” an introspective ballad perfectly suited to Bare’s mellowed voice.
Bare has always been known for the wry fun he brings to his live performances, and that sense of humor is evident here on ”Trophy Girl” as he sings, “I never thought that we’d go on forever / ‘Cause trophy girls don’t hang around too long / Always looking ‘round for greener pastures / And when they find something better they move on.”
The Norwegian connection
The album’s title track itself has an interesting pedigree: Apparently inspired by Bare’s friend, the late songwriter Hoyt Axton, “Times Change” was written by Bare and performed with Norwegian musician Petter Oien, becoming one of Norway’s finalists for that country’s entry in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
The new album, produced by singer/songwriter Max T. Barnes, will be released May 26 by Hypermedia Nashville and BFD through RED Distribution. Autographed pre-order copies of THINGS CHANGE are available now at www.bobbybare.com.
As Bobby Bare says of his new album: “This is a special collection of songs to me, not just another record. Things do change but my love for songwriters and the fans never, ever will!”
© 2017 Preshias Harris, Nashville Music Line