BY JOHN B. MOORE
On his most ambitious record to date, Bobby Bare Jr. and his band add a more liberal mix of rock to their normal punkish country brew and the result is one of their most consistently satisfying records so far (paired perfectly with 2010’s A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head). That point is made pretty clear with the wall of distortion from “North of Alabama By Mornin’” that ushers in the album.
Songs like the “The Big Time,” with its honky tonk piano and its charmingly smartass lyrics, a more subdued track like “The Elegant Imposter” and the pop folk of “My Baby Took My Baby Away” go to show an impressive range here, more than they have offered on just about any of their previous records.
His vocals are delivered with such breezy casualness, you almost miss the poetry in the words. Pair that with the brilliant musicianship and it’s simply confounding that Bare and his band aren’t as big as groups like Arcade Fire and My Morning Jacket at this point.
DOWNLOAD: “The Big Time,” “My Baby Took My Baby Away” and “As Forever Became Never Again”