Bare, essential

Nashville Native brings roots-rock Americana to the Grand Lodge
by: Christopher Onstott Singer and songwriter Bobby Bare, Jr. performs at a taping of Live Wire Radio at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland. He’ll appear Friday at the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove.

Bobby Bare, Jr. has spent his entire life on a stage. At age eight, the Nashville native shot into the consciousness alongside his father, the legendary country crooner with whom he shares a name, with the Grammy-nominated 'Daddy What If.'

But that early debut in the spotlight was just the beginning of a continuing musical journey for the younger Bare. He has emerged as one of the most promising up-and-coming songwriters of the current alt-country movement, drawing fans in with his playfully experimental blend of country-twinged Americana, rock, chamber-style arrangements and blasts of pop, all hammered home by the singer's charismatic stage presence.

Bare's appeal has made him a familiar face in the Northwest, where he performs so frequently that many mistake him for a permanent resident.

Bare hits McMenamins' Grand Lodge Friday with a free show as part of the Great Northwest Music Tour, a series of shows that shuffles artists around the state to historic McMenamins properties.

With eight albums under his belt and a career that has never been more inviting, the 44-year-old father of three chatted with the News-Times from the Oregon coast to talk about his travels, the hardships of the road, his creative process and more.

Q: How has the tour been so far?

A: It's the greatest. It's like a vacation. It's just great. I mean, we went hiking for three hours today. It's been really great.

Q: How did you get hooked up with the tour?

A: I just had my agent book it. I knew there were people out there doing it, so I asked them to set it up.

Q: This tour includes a lot of small-town venues. What have your experiences been like playing areas where you're not as well known?

A: It's been insane, fantastic fun. It's a blast. The obvious difference is there are fewer people seeing me do a great show. When we have a great show, we want people to walk away from that and tell people it was good.

Q: You always strike me as a performer who's having fun. As a person who has been doing this for his whole life, have you ever gotten sick of it?

A: No. It's a lot of fun. I get to play for a living. Only musicians and athletes get to play for a living, so I'm really happy about the situation.

Q: Is being on the road ever difficult?

A: My children wake up every morning and they don't get to see their dad … they wake up and say 'Where's my dad?' (Sighs). I'm a dad. That's what I do, but I have to feed the babies, and this is how I do it.

Q: Do you have any new albums in the works?

A: I'm writing. I'm going to write a new record, go home and create more stuff. I'm just waiting for stuff to tumble out. I'll keep making myself available for things to tumble out.

Bobby Bare, Jr. plays Friday, June 17 at the Grand Lodge. The free, all ages show begins at 6 p.m. To learn more, call 503-992-9533 or visit