American jazz-funk-bluegrass-and-more band based out of Springfield, Missouri.
Barefoot Revolution were created in 1995 and evolved out of a folk music band. They progressed towards what they thought was freestyle rock but obviously ended up being much more than just that. After one demo tape in late 1995 and a self-titled EP in 1997, they managed to release their first full album in 1999 and called it The Daylight Album. Their second album, as yet untitled, was being recorded in Memphis in August 2001.
- Brandon Moore (guitar, vocals)
- Marcus Chatman (percussion, trumpet, keyboards, penny whistle, harmonica, vocals)
- John Anderson (drums)
- Molly Healey (violin, percussion, vocals)
- Brian Adams (bass, vocals)
The band is fronted mainly by Adams (a really pleasant guy but then aren't all bass players?) and Moore. Chatman is the third founding member still with the band and a truly talented multi-instrumentalist. Most of their music is written by Adams and Moore.
I chanced upon these four gentlemen and a lady recently when I was anticipating no more than a passable musical background for my intended inebriation by means of Shiner Bock. Apparently they were recording in town and had booked a date at this joint where an audience of fifty is considered good attendance and the brews on tap often outnumber the patrons.
When I first heard them, they were probably the last thing I expected to hear that night. It took me about twenty seconds to realise that this was NOT your average band that does gigs as if they were jamming in their garage and performs for beer. For one thing, I don't really like jazz. I can't say I'm especially fond of funky stuff either, let alone country music and bluegrass. 'Nuff about me. These guys opened with a freestyle jazz song that got my attention right away. I've rarely seen a band that played so tightly and disciplined and that includes some big names too. The opening and everything that followed was polished to the shine of the trumpet player's instrument but nonetheless fresh.
Their influences are clearly diverse and tasteful. After getting over the surprise of hearing something I think Amon Tobin would have been acclaimed for, they went right on into something that reminded me of Calypso and continued with an excellent medley of styles and sounds. Rock, funk, jazz, they did it all. Even the forays into country and bluegrass were remarkably arranged and performed. In a space which was not designed for acoustics and on a very cramped stage which, probably as matter of ergonomics rather than style, had the guitarist stuck in the back corner, they managed to sound unstressed and clearer than most big bands I've heard. All four vocalists, who took turns, blended in nicely with the music and at no point took over. That's a good thing when you're playing around genres that are by nature mostly instrumental. Chatman, a big guy who was practically leaning against a window, provided many of the highlights by smoothly switching instruments to provide just the right accompaniment or touch to augment a song. The quintet, as a whole, played the best live music I've heard in ages. Unfortunately I was dragged off before the end of their set but I plan to be back for the rest next time they play.
Update, Dec 2002: Alas, since this article was posted, the band broke up, for "personal reasons." You don't often get the chance to see a group of accomplished musicians with this sort of chemistry and style but I guess the chemistry wore out. Adams and Chatman will probably still be playing somewhere in Springfield. Whatever they recorded in Memphis was never released.