Darker Than Light
Going Down The Road Feelin' Bad - John Hardy - Boll Weevil - Farewell Angelina - House of the Rising Sun - Lookout Mountain - I Was Drunk - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Dark As A Dungeon - I Was A Young Man Once - Banks of the Ohio - Shenandoah - Woody - Tennessee Stud - Tom Dooley - The Devil and Billy Markham
Without a doubt this is the best Christmas present I've ever received from my lovely wife Sheila, and now I get to review this incredible piece of musical work for you. As a Smithsonian recording artist, and preservationist of old-time rural music all of my life, this particular CD is one of the freshest breaths of air I've had in a very very long time from the field of 'country' music. One of my many heroes in this genre of music, has been Bobby Bare for the longest period of time. Originally from Ohio, he was playing guitar by age 11, and the very first artist to begin recording Kris Kristofferson songs. That already is a combination hard to beat. Bobby Bare got his first break in country music when he signed with RCA and worked with Chet Atkins, releasing "Shame On Me" in 1962 followed by "Detroit City" in 1963, and then my favorite "500 Miles Away From Home" in 1964. By 1965 the Grammys were rolling in, and now it's happening again with this CD. "Darker Than Light" are songs Bobby Bare has had in his head for a very long time, 50 years or more, and some are still there, waiting. He's had an enviable career doing what he does best, but he's a modest man, you know, the 'quiet' outlaw. I believe he says it best in 500 Miles...in his own poetic words "I know this is the same road I took the day I left home, but it sure looks different now. Well, I guess I look different too, cause' time changes everything." But, Bobby Bare doesn't stop there. On this very album he answers that same statement in his song "I Was A Young Man Once"... "You're just an old man once. An old man dreams of what he wants. He wants the world to know, that not too long ago, he was a young man once." Bobby Bare is 'home' now, somewhat older and a lot more wiser, and to many of us, he's still the monument we look to for authenticity, reality, and goodness in 'real' country music. He has a sort of 'sad' look about him sometimes, maybe a regret or two, but maybe seeing, hearing, knowing, and realizing the loss of 'real' country music, and why this album is so important and necessary, might be causing that. It was released on Plowboy Records, created in 2012 by Shanon Pollard, grandson of Eddy Arnold, with one of the goals of this particular CD to re-introduce Bobby Bare to a national Americana fan base, and to remind the Country Music Association that Bobby Bare is worthy of induction into their Hall of Fame. This album "Darker Than Light" led to that actual induction in 2013. Darkness, you might know, or the color black, is merely the absence of light. Bobby Bare adds the 'light' to this album, and indeed it shines darker than light, full circle. This album is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing contributions to 'country' music in its history, and especially important because this is the spirit, the story-telling ability, the 'guts' of country music, the music we don't hear anymore. The last song "The Devil and Billy Markham" uses some 'naughty' words. Isn't it amazing, we live in 2014, and we still have 'naughty' words. I believe Bobby went into the studio and laid his tracks, and then let this amazing assortment of musicians come in and finish it off. Throughout the taping, he sounds like a young Bobby Bare, but sometimes he slips into the reality of being an older singer. In total, this one album will obviously go to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their album of the year consideration, but more importantly we desperately hope Bobby Bare will consider letting rural America put him into their 'America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame' now. Don't you think it's neat that he opens this CD with a Woody Guthrie song, and then includes his own song "Woody" inside the fabric of the CD as a dedication to another of my heroes, and obviously one of his. Five stars all the way around for this one. As many know, I forward CD's to the RRMC for award consideration and those that don't go there go to seniors in a homes not able to get good country music anymore. This one, however, stays in my own private collection, proudly displayed in the Pioneer Music Museum located in the heart of the corn country, Iowa.
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net
for Country Music News International Magazine