“Things Change,” But Country Singer Bobby Bare’s Still in Top Form

The Nashville crooner’s new album is a winner.


Bobby Bare
Things Change

Courtesy of Webster Public Relations

What a career: Nashville’s Bobby Bare enjoyed his first chart success in late ’50s with the witty talking blues “The All American Boy,” was a standout crooner in the ’60s with hits like “500 Miles Away from Home,” which anticipated the countrypolitan sound, and rode the crest of the outlaw movement in the ’70s, playing drunk and crazy to perfection. Today, in his early 80s, he’s still making great records, as Things Change demonstrates. Though his voice has inevitably grown rougher and deeper with time, Bare is still a smart, wonderfully expressive singer who brings subtle and surprising shades to the simplest lyrics. Writing or co-writing most of the songs—including “Trophy Girl,” the final work of the great Guy Clark—on this easygoing blend of down home country and laid-back pop, he ponders the passing of time and enduring human foibles with the unflappable grace of a weathered philosopher who’s seen at all. For added commercial appeal, current superstar Chris Stapleton joins Bare for a solid remake of his 1963 smash “Detroit City,” but every track on Things Change is a winner. Don’t ever retire, Bobby.