When does a rowdy bar band become more than that? The Bearfoot Hookers of Athens, Georgia, assembled from an art teacher who designs album covers, an adult child of an Episcopal priest, and a guy obsessed with the home recording process. These three core members of The Bearfoot Hookers balance their time playing between their hometown and their adoptive home, Waycross, Georgia–the swamp land of South Georgia from which Gram Parsons emerged, and twang still reigns. Waycross is a quirky little town, with an inordinate percentage of incredible musicians and people who love music, surprising because of its remoteness and apparent lack of highbrow culture. What is not evident on the surface, is Waycross’s history and how the power of roots music has seeped into the swamp water and its people.
Like many musicians with a childhood filled with the sounds of gospel music and families who believe deeply in conservative Christianity, the guys in The Bearfoot Hookers are pulled by the internal strife of writing real-life songs about drinking in a bar with your buddies, and knowing how their lifestyles trouble their parents. That conflict, and the themes that arise from writing about it, expands the depth of the lyrics for The Bearfoots Hookers, and plants them beyond “just a bar band.” Their most recent record explored those mixed emotions and resulted in their version of a gospel record, as if Lynyrd Skynyrd became introspective and wrote Beer Drinkin’ Gospel Revival.
With a rotating cast of supporting musicians and “special guests,” The Bearfoot Hookers play layered, full rock music, and their musicianship offers a great time, including for those who are not looking for self-reflection. By frequently playing solo gigs with their songs as well, an acoustic night with just their songs and Bearfoot Hookers songs yields thoughtful commentary on living an open-minded, accepting life and knowing that one’s choices simultaneously cause pain for one’s family of origin, even when you disagree with one another. This contrast in playing style offers different audiences access to music beyond Life At The Bar from The Bearfoot Hookers. With life changes, such as the first of the band members to have children this year, The Bearfoot Hookers anticipate more changes in their lyrics for their next record, and they are excited to get together and being writing and collaborating soon.
Songs from Episode 1218 Include:
- The Bearfoot Hookers: “Memphis,” “Ready to Ride,” “Rain Don’t Stop the Trains” (“Ready to Ride” has been featured in the TV show Hart of Dixie, with Rachel Bilson.)
- Adam Payne Band: “Insecure”
- Flying Burrito Brothers: “High Fashion Queen”
- Betsy Franck: “Lost on the Road” (Betsy’s new solo album will be released this summer.)
- Lynyrd Skynyrd: “Swamp Music”
- One from next week’s episode, #1219Band of Heathens: “Should Have Known”