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Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost: A Film About Bobby Bare Jr.

By MATTHEW SINGER
[ONE NIGHT ONLY] Bobby Bare Jr. couldn’t sell out if he tried. As the second-generation songwriter admits in Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost), that’s less a comment on his integrity than on the reality of the marketplace. "I would give anything to sell out. It's just, what are you going to sell out to?" asks Bare, the son of Nashville legend Bobby Bare. He’s being slightly modest: Through five albums, his wry brand of country rock has earned enough of a following to elevate him a notch above total obscurity. But William Miller’s documentary, filmed in 2010, catches Bare at the moment when cult fandom has ceased paying the bills. He’s 40 and divorced, and has just become a father for the third time. When he hits the road, backed by now-defunct Portland band Blue Giant, it’s all he can do to keep his head above water. Miller’s fly-in-the-van approach captures the grinding repetition of touring life with cramped, unwashed intimacy, each venue blurring into the next to the point that even the Crystal Ballroom looks like just another dingy bar. Should we admire Bare or pity his career choices? Don’t Follow Me doesn’t ask aloud, nor does it judge. Meanwhile, the talking heads—including Justin Townes Earle, members of My Morning Jacket, and Bare’s former manager, MusicfestNW director Trevor Solomon—ponder the universal question of any doc about an underappreciated artist: Why isn’t this prodigious talent more successful? That is, of course, an unsolvable mystery, though Bare offers an answer that's as close as anyone will get: “I can’t make people like my music.” 
 

Special Note

Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Monday, June 9.
 
 

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