A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head

[Thirty Tigers]

Four years after his last studio album, Bobby Bare Jr. returns with his wry wit and droll eye for detail splendidly intact. Bare has never fit squarely into the country-singer mold of his father, but there’s subtle twang here, along with a gentle throwback-soul sensibility on tunes that would make you cry if you weren’t laughing. “One of Us Has Got to Go” is one of those, with Bare singing over solo acoustic guitar as he catalogs ways to avoid seeing his ex-lover cavort with his successor. “Rock and Roll Halloween” is flat-out funny, with incisive descriptions of a party full of outlandish costumes and booze-fueled antics: “I saw Elvis make out with Jesus,” he sings on a chorus that shows the influence of late friend and collaborator, poet Shel Silverstein. As his latest ably demonstrates, Bare has become something of a poet himself. –ED

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