Bobby Bare, Jr.

From the End of Your Leash

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One thing that country and the blues have long had in common is a penchant for dark humor -- an ability to find humorous, clever ways of addressing life's challenges and disappointments. That ability to laugh and cry at the same time is something that country's royalty -- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, and George Jones, among many others -- have in common with blues greats like Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy. And that laughing-through-the-tears approach is certainly alive and well on From the End of Your Leash, which often demonstrates that Bobby Bare Jr. is a master of dark humor. Anyone who calls his band the Young Criminals' Starvation League obviously has a taste for twisted humor, and this Americana/roots rock effort is hardly the work of a mindlessly naïve Pollyanna who goes through life wearing rose-colored glasses -- Bare's world-weary vocals and lyrics indicate that he's been around the block too many times for that. Bare sings and writes about loneliness, heartbreak, sadness, and dysfunctional relationships -- he writes about being down on your luck -- and through it all, his sense of humor is a definite asset. The singer/songwriter brings a variety of influences to his rock & roll -- influences ranging from blues and Memphis soul to punk to country, and that country influence isn't surprising when you consider that his father is country star Bobby Bare Sr. But the younger Bare is hardly a carbon copy of his famous dad; while Bare Sr.'s name is synonymous with country, Bare Jr. is primarily a rocker with country influences. At times, From the End of Your Leash can be a little too self-indulgent for its own good, but that's only a minor problem -- one that is easily outweighed by the warmth, humanity, and soulfulness that Bare Jr. brings to this generally memorable CD.

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