As published in The Berkshire Eagle on November 18, 2011
PITTSFIELD — For the members of Barefoot Truth–bassist Andy Wrba, key-boardist John “Wayno” Waynelovich, harmonica player Garrett Duffy, guitarist Jay Driscoll, and drummer/lead vocalist Will Evans–home is where the heart is. And on Nov. 25, their hearts with be returning to the Colonial Theatre for their second-annual Thanksgiving weekend spectacular.
The show is especially poignant for Pittsfield native Wrba. Sipping a beer at Mission Bar & Tapas on North Street, where he plays with a jazz combo every Monday night, his face lights up like Christmas at the mere mention of it.
“I’m kind of jumpy just thinking about it right now, that’s how excited I am,” exclaims Wrba. “Seriously…it’s awesome! Looking out to a full house full of family, friends, familiar faces, and a lot of strangers too that are singing along; the combination of all that is pretty special.”
“I would say the five guys in the group…we’ve really fallen into brotherhood, and each of our families feels like a part of our extended family,” Driscoll explains in a phone interview.All five members of the band hail from different parts of New England, with three growing up right in Western Mass., so all concur that rolling in to Pittsfield feels like coming home again.
“So we’re lucky to have several homes, and the entire band certainly feels the love coming in to Pittsfield, and it feels like we’re there with our family.”
Wayno, the fifth and final addition to the band’s current lineup, admits that he has driven to Pittsfield from his hometown of Turner Falls more than any other place in the past year to play shows, frequently joining Wrba for Monday night sessions at Mission. He feels that the Colonial show is unlike most other shows they play, “and maybe that’s because it has that homecoming feel.”
“We’ve looked forward to it pretty much since we played it last year. I remember getting done with the show and pretty much saying, ‘Let’s do that again next year.’ We’re doing a live DVD of the last one we played there, and that just shows how important and how much that show means to all of us.”
The DVD recording of Barefoot Truth’s 2010 Colonial Theatre performance will be available for purchase at their merchandise table. Also available will be the group’s newest album release, “Carry Us On,” which,
not coincidentally, features songs that focus on the importance of home, family, and close relationships.
Evans, the main songwriter for the group, thinks the inspiration for the new songs stemmed from the band getting into their mid-twenties.
“You start thinking more about what really matters to you,” he says from the road between shows.
“Everyone loves their time at home and family and friends, and certainly just in writing…the last album has been a lot more just about time, and how that has become the most important thing for me and for all of us I feel…So certainly family and relationships are more a part of it in the newer songs of this record.”
A big chunk of “Carry Us On” is also taken up by revisions of older acoustic tracks recorded by just Evans and Driscoll during the band’s early formative years. Fan favorites from the start, those songs began to take new forms as the band gradually grew to its current lineup.
“With these re-recordings, it’s seven years of songs developing into what they are now, and that’s just really in itself,” says Driscoll.
Evans completely agrees. “I think it’s much more of a picture of what we are now, just hearing all the different instrumentation in there…shows tremendous growth in our abilities over the years I think, the difference between the old and the new ones. So it was really special and fun to finally kind of feel like here’s everybody contributing to our songs that are still our most popular at live shows.”
Besides performing their new and revised songs, Barefoot Truth has a few surprises up their collective sleeve for the Colonial show, including collaborating with opening act Catfish Blue and a guest appearance by teen guitar prodigy Jeff Howard of the McLovins.
So here they are, a year older and wiser, with another album and tour under their belts. Yet the members of Barefoot Truth remain as humble as ever, never taking for granted the opportunities they’ve had or what the future might bring. In fact, even after playing venues much bigger and more well-known, Wrba still gets giddy at the prospect of headlining the Colonial.
“You almost take it for granted because it’s right in Pittsfield and it’s right down the road,” the bass player says. “But it’s one of the most beautiful, best-sounding places there is. Just because it’s right down the street doesn’t mean it’s not something special, because it certainly is that…so I’m ready!”