(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Organic indie-rock group Barefoot Truth brings its distinctive blend of rock, folk, jazz, and reggae to the Colonial Theatre on Friday, November 25, 2011, at 8. Homegrown blues band Catfish Blue reunites for a special one-off opening set for this Thanksgiving weekend homecoming.
Barefoot Truth’s Will Evans (guitar, drums, vocals) and Jay Driscoll (acoustic, electric, Weissenborn guitars) met in Mystic, Conn., shortly after graduating high school, and they spent much of that summer playing music together, often strumming guitars and singing on the beach. Come fall, Evans went off to St. Michael’s College in Burlington, Vt., and Driscoll headed to UMass-Amherst. Though neither knew it at the time, Barefoot Truth had already taken its first step.
During the summer of 2004, Evans and Driscoll put together a set of covers and original songs and began performing live as Barefoot Truth, for the first time. For the next three years, they remained an acoustic duo, performing and recording two albums (Changes in the Weather and Club House Sessions, both produced by the Grammy nominee Jack Gauthier), and crafting their own style while earning their college degrees. They had decided, at that time, to begin reaching for a fuller sound yet they still didn’t know what form that would take. But their ears were wide open.
Building the band was an organic process. Upright and electric bassist Andy Wrba, a native of Pittsfield, Mass., caught a Barefoot Truth show at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., in 2006 introducing himself after the set. The next day, he sat in with Evans and Driscoll at a show that turned out to be his audition to become the newest member of Barefoot Truth.
A quick study, with a degree in Jazz Studies (he learned all the songs for the first show during the 30-minute drive to the gig), Wrba brought a much-needed low end to the band’s groove, and his versatility and deep musical knowledge immediately helped shape their compositions. Garrett Duffy, a college friend of Evans’, was a budding harmonica player who initially got involved; not so much to play but to help promote the band, book some gigs, and enjoy the road trips with the boys. But once his harp talent was fully revealed, he was asked to play on a couple of tracks on Club House Sessions. From there, he jumped in fully as a band member, and soon his signature harmonica bends became an integral part of the Barefoot Truth sound.
Now a quartet, the band spent the 2006-7 school year practicing and playing gigs across New England and into the Midwest, spending most weekends performing for college audiences who had heard the buzz and increasingly sought them out. They were honing their sound, cultivating a grassroots following, and having a ball.
Following graduation, the show moved onto the band’s new, and current headquarters, in Mystic, Conn., where the set up shop devoting their full attention to their music. But there was still one more piece to the puzzle.
The last to join was keyboard player John “Wayno” Waynelovich. He was still in school studying jazz and classical piano and musical education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts when he was invited to play on their third release, Walk Softly, in the summer of 2007. Wayno was the final piece in what has turned out to be a complex and wildly popular musical puzzle known as Barefoot Truth.
Work on their fourth full-length CD, Threads, and their first as a quintet, began in the summer of 2008. Released in February 2010 to great critical acclaim, Threads revealed how far they had come musically since 2004 and how unlimited their future potential was to become.
The band truly broke through during 2010 with ever-growing audiences who couldn’t get enough of what they had to offer. Persistent touring in support of Threads and their acclaimed, high-energy live act were earning Barefoot Truth a loyal fan base that flocked to shows. Meanwhile, online radio service Pandora was spreading their music to worldwide audiences. The band also provided songs and the film score for the award-winning documentary Nature Propelled. The single, “Threads”, also found its way into the MTV music empire, ultimately ending up in the MTV video game Rock Band.
It was during that time that they began work on their most accomplished recording yet, Carry Us On” This new release finds Barefoot Truth confidently hitting their stride and at their full power as a group. Much has changed since that summer in 2003, as Barefoot Truth has grown to become a true musical force of nature.
Catfish Blue was formed by guitarist Steve McPherson and vocalist Todd Stentiford, who was seemingly born to sing the blues, in 1993 at Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown, Mass. That spring, they played their first show at the school’s annual Sight and Sound Festival with their English teacher on drums. Between then and now: three studio albums, at least three bassists, one ill-conceived name change, thousands of miles traveled, hundreds of shows played, and five years off. Now reconstituted with original drummer Conor Meehan and original bassist Sean McPherson, Catfish Blue is making a habit of reconvening every Thanksgiving in Berkshire County, dusting off the originals and the old blues standards, and playing a couple shows because it’s just too damn much fun not to.