Like his namesake father and his friend and mentor, the late Shel Silverstein, Bobby Bare Jr. makes room for both wit and pathos in his music. But his latest album, 2010’s “A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head” leans a bit more toward the serious side coming in the wake of a divorce, a new relationship, another baby and his mother’s near-death experience.
But Bare says he has no trouble connecting with more poignant emotions when he’s writing.
“I always say that if you’re a really good singer-performer, you’ve got a lot more in common with a stripper than any other kind of entertainer,” explains Bare, 44, who co-wrote three songs on the album with his father. “The only good stuff I have to offer is what I actually feel, and if you’re doing anything worth hearing or experiencing, you’re undressing as much as you can and not hiding behind anything.
“So it’s scary, but that’s the gig. Don’t do it if you can’t handle it.”
Bare did get to exercise his more flippant side, meanwhile, by helming “Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein,” another 2010 release that both coincided with and led into Bare’s own album.
“He’s always present in my music,” Bare says, “especially in something like ‘Liz Taylor’s Lipstick Gun.’ I’m always like, What would Shel do? How far would Shel push the idea? What would he say if I asked him to critique this song? That’s the craft I’m shooting for.”
Bobby Bare Jr., Carey Kotsionis and Amy Gore & the Squires perform on Friday, May 6, at Small’s, 10339 Conant, Hamtramck. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 313-873-1117 or visit www.smallsbardetroit.com.
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