Barefoot Truth played at The majestic Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for the final time on Friday, October 12th, part of their farewell tour. This band combines great songwriting, multi-instrumentalism and proud stage presence and made for a bittersweet show in that I was just discovering a band that I would have loved to have seen continue to play. A crowd of 20 year olds and younger middle aged would agree, hanging on every note and lyrics, not wanting it to end.
A group looking like a band of misfit Mormon’s, Barefoot Truth has the 20-something, good looking band motif down pat. Their sound came off as immediately enjoyable, incorporating a little bit of Dave Matthews, Dispatch, O.A.R. and Jack Johnson into their songwriting, replete with harmonica and acoustic guitar mixed in, a staple of the alt-rockers. The song “Rope” featured Garrett Duffy on vocals, notably “You lift me up, you shake me down, you knock me over, you spin me around”. Dan ‘Hombre’ Holmes came in to sit-in on drums for a couple of songs, only to be surprisingly replaced by the lead singer/guitarist Will Evans, showcasing the band’s inclusive versatility
One of the incredible song of the evening that Jeff Howard sat in for was “Life is a Photograph” With popping vocals and solid music, it recalled The Avett Brothers sound, with a soothing electric guitar blended in. After the beat dropped, the crowd responded with a head bobbing zombifying effect. The Andy Wrba-Jeff Howard interplay made the sit-in more awesome, with tunes as catchy as String Cheese Incident’s “Land’s End”, the crowd was fully engaged as the band dipped into what could best be described as delving into early Phish jams.
“Changes in the Weather” had more radio-friendly lyrics. “Until you you realize you’re not there”. Later, on a funk number where Howard played guitar again, Jay Driscoll thanked Jeff for showing him what his guitar could sound like. Jeff looked comfortable on stage with Barefoot Truth, always watching for cues. Collaborator Noah Weiss came in to play sax on “Eagle Front”, a straight up white boy reggae tune and evoking Jars of Clay from the mid-90s. This was really upbeat music, with the crowd rising early and clapping to the beat; overall, a very kinetic show.
An encore that began with the hands of Andy and Jay on Jay’s guitar was a short interlude before “Reelin'” The extrapolated jam was a true treat to end the night, with great harmonica from Garrett Duffy.
A band with enough skill and talent to switch instruments seamlessly, alternate vocals and share the stage was refreshing to see. Songs are well written and groovy, beckoning fans to request and repeat refrains. It’s a shame to see them go, but there are still three chances left: November 9th at Higher Ground in Burlington, November 10th at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Mass and November 11th at The Sinclair in Boston. For more info, check out barefoottruth.com
Eagle Front from 10/12/12