Bobby Bare Jr., Cory Branan | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Bobby Bare Jr., Cory Branan 

When: Fri., April 25, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $10
Nashville’s Bobby Bare Jr. hasn’t been especially prolific over the past decade—the fantastic new Undefeated (Bloodshot) is just his fourth recording of original material in that span and his first in four years. Luckily he didn’t spend his downtime overthinking his process, and his latest album is just as ragged as anything he’s done. He hopscotches around the stylistic map, from organ-stoked hard rock to blue-eyed soul to boozy honky-tonk, all without a hint of self-consciousness. Bare’s voice might be the most unpolished thing about his music, but it works. He sings his intimate ballad “If She Cared” in a wounded croak, conducting a kind of internal dialogue to rationalize the sex he’s about to have with a new woman—the one he actually loves has either rejected him or simply doesn’t care about him (“If she cared where I was / Then I’d be right back where I really want to be”). The title track is slow-burn rock-soul drenched in woozy steel guitar, which frames and nudges his vocals as he describes his struggle to survive the loss of a lover who seems to have spurned him without effort (“Undefeated, she’s undefeated / She just ain’t going to feel it”). Like most of Bare’s records, this one crept up on me and dug its claws in deep. He plays an earlier show on Wed 4/23 (also with Cory Branan at Schubas) that’s preceded by a screening of the Bobby Bare Jr. documentary Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost). —Peter Margasak


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