May Gathering with The Barefoot Movement
May 16 @ 4:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Socially distanced jamming starts at 4:30 PM
Show starts at 6:00 PM
Reservation Donation required in advance: <Click Here>.
Per COVID-19 restrictions, attendance will be limited to 250 people.
The Barefoot Movement
When the stars align to team a fresh, young acoustic quartet with a pair of legendary studio wizards whose credits include projects by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles, the saying about “big shoes to fill” might be cause for concern. But not for the two men and two women who make up The Barefoot Movement. Just as their name suggests, the band that earned the International Bluegrass Music Association’s prestigious Band of the Year Momentum Award in 2014 wants live audiences to be inspired by the casual, organic nature of their energetic live shows. But they also take that same philosophy with them into the recording studio, turning out instantly memorable tunes built around silky smooth bluegrass/Americana harmonies and laced with tantalizing flecks of bluesy grit.
With their latest EP, Rise & Fly, the Nashville-based musicians comfortably dip their bare toes into everything from the high-energy of “Doin’ Alright,” and the deceptively cheery but acerbic break-up tune, “Every Little Thing,” to the gutsy “Lonely Mississippi Blues” and the stirring call-and-response of the traditional “Early in the Morning.” The phrase “rise and fly,” from that tune, “captured very simply the theme of the whole project,” says singer-songwriter fiddle player and chief songwriter Noah Wall. “Not only in that we’re bringing traditional stuff back to life, but also in that it’s been so long since we’ve had a new release of original material. With this batch, it’s the first non-holiday offering from our current line-up. So, it feels very much like rising from the ground up and letting these tunes finally take flight.”
Formed in North Carolina in 2006, after Wall met mandolinist Tommy Norris in high school, the group’s lineup has morphed occasionally since then, adding current members, guitarist Alex Conerly and, most recently, upright bassist Katie Blomarz to round out a thrilling foursome that combines thoughtful lyrics with a combined gift for instrumental dexterity. It’s no wonder that they captured the attention of the studio veterans who would co-produce Rise & Fly. Chuck Plotkin, the producer behind albums such as Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., and Dylan’s Shot of Love, among many others, emerged from retirement to co-produce the EP with Hank Linderman, whose engineering work has been showcased on the Eagles’ Long Road out of Eden and Linda Ronstadt’s Hummin’ to Myself, to name but a few.
“We were playing at one our our favorite festivals, LarryFest, in Wisconsin,” says Wall. “A gentleman came up to us after the show and introduced himself, saying, ‘my name is Hank Linderman. I really loved your set and would like to work with you guys.’ One of his dearest friends is Chuck’s son, Sam. So, through meeting Hank, Chuck came out to one of our shows that we played in L.A., and he really liked it. He said he was really bored being retired! That show ended up being our album Live in L.A., so you can actually hear Chuck cheering in the recording!”
With diverse musical tastes and their creative juices freely flowing, the four have peppered Rise & Fly with songs that cover a wide range of roots music. But aside from the eclectic song selection, what jumps out instantly are the lush harmonies and sparkling vocal arrangements that benefit from the members’ varied musical backgrounds.
“Singing harmony with my bandmates is my favorite thing in the world,” says Wall. “When I write a song, I’m already thinking about the parts they might sing. And they always improve on my original idea. We all come from different musical backgrounds but we have enough in common that it brings a nice creative exchange. That’s when I get the most excited, when we finally get something worked up the way I had imagined it. That moment is when I feel the most energy and it’s when I’m reminded why I do what I do for a living.”
As far as the band name is concerned, Wall says it “just dropped out of the sky.
“I was still living with my parents and I was going to feed my dog one night. We had a rug by the door where we kept all the shoes, and I had slipped some on to go outside. At some point, I looked down and realized I had on two different shoes. I don’t know why, but in that moment it popped into my head. It’s always been so perfect on a multitude of levels, but I think that the biggest thing is that I want people to feel relaxed and at home when they’re hearing our music. It’s kind of a Southern hospitality ideal that I grew up with. You can feel at home here, just like you would at your house.”
That sense of comfort and universality followed the group in July 2014 when they made the 5,000-mile trek to the West African nation of Burkina Faso, where they performed a series of shows at the invitation of the American Embassy there. “I majored in broadcasting and I briefly hosted a radio show on WDVX out of Knoxville, TN. They were big supporters of our music as well and one of the staff there knew the wife of the ambassador [who] was from Kentucky. Through that connection we were invited over and we spent about two weeks there. We played at schools, an orphanage, a home for women, things like that. The crazy thing was that everywhere we performed, the locals would perform for us as well. Music and dance are such a big part of their culture and they were eager to exchange it. That was a real gift that we weren’t expecting. They even got us to dance with them! I was so intimidated because believe me, I cannot dance, but they didn’t care. It was a similar vibe to what we want the Barefoot Movement to be: Come on in and let’s all partake of this moment together.”
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