The Barefoot Movement: A Diverse Mix of Old, New
The phrase "Second Time Around" has double meaning for the eclectic string band known as Barefoot Movement. Not only is this year their second Beartrap appearance after their stirring debut in 2014, it's also the title of one of their favorite songs from the new album, "Figures of the Year."
It would be accurate to say that the band's music, musicians, and songwriting are original from head to toe. For one thing, they have a habit of performing shoeless. And though the adjectives "fresh" and "old-time" would seem to be a contradiction in terms, that's the band's music in a nutshell. Billboard, for instance, describes their repertoire as "a diverse mix with slices of bluegrass, country, folk, and even a little bit of rock and roll."
Or as another reviewer describes them, "Fantastic skills, harmonies to die for, smiles, lovely lyrics, and a great knowledge. They tell stories with their music, and are wickedly funny to boot." Yet another says: "Their originals, expertly played and written, feel as timeless as 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown.' Even Flatt & Scruggs would be proud."
"Second Time Around," chosen by the group for a new video that's been featured on the Zuus Country network, has a theme that anybody who's been in love can relate to. As founder, fiddle player, and vocalist Noah Wall describes the song to Billboard, "I had been in a relationship, and gotten back with the same person, and it just ended up being exactly what I needed. The whole album is about the confusion of a break-up at twenty-two, and that one is special to me. When I wrote it, I could hear those three-part harmonies, which I love so much. It's one of our favorite songs to play."
The band is also proud of the fact that 10 of the 16 songs on their new release are originals. "That was really important because while we all love traditional music," Wall says, "it's so important to have original material because we all have fans out there and the only thing that keeps us separate is what we have that no one else has," said Wall. "That's original music. I consider myself a songwriter first, then a singer, and a fiddle player. Writing songs gives me the most joy of anything. I had quite a few this time, and they all told a story together. It was important to put out an album that was thought out, and more of a collection of songs that went together musically and lyrically."
And their music is spreading to a national audience much bigger than just festival-goers. One of their original songs was used on the Outdoor Channel's "Huntin' the World, Southern Style." They've been featured in Country Weekly Magazine, Music City Roots, on CMT Edge, and the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Some of their original music was featured on the Outdoor Channel's program "Huntin' the World: Southern Style."
The band credits the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" with kicking off the current folk revival, and say they're excited to hear groups like Mumford & Sons and the Avett brothers "actually being played on the radio."
When asked by an interviewer which favorite musicians they would line up for a fantasy gig, Wall's answer displays their diverse influences: "Any living member of Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Oh, and the Eagles could come too."