This week’s featured artist in the 615 Spotlight definitely qualifies as one of the most eclectic acts that we’ve written about in some time. Take a listen to The Barefoot Movement, and you will hear slices of bluegrass, country, folk, and even a little bit of rock and roll. That diverse mix has attracted widespread critical acclaim for their latest album, “Figures of the Year.” That’s something that fiddle player Noah Wall takes a great deal of pride in.
“Nothing could make us happier,” she tells Billboard. “It’s definitely something that we have put a lot of heart into. The best thing that you can hope for is that the music that you want to play is music that people like. I think that when you get confirmation of that from people enjoying it, that’s the best feeling.”
How would Wall classify their melting pot of music? “I think folk-Americana is really accurate, because we draw from so many styles of traditional music,” she says. “It’s hard to call it just bluegrass. We do play a lot of old-time string music, but that’s definitely not all we do. The songs that I write draw from anything from classic rock – what I grew up listening to – or folk, or anything in between. I would say it’s traditional based music that draws from all kinds of traditional music.”
The band recently made a change to their lineup, which Wall said has brought a burst of energy. “We’ve got a new guy who is from Nashville. His name is Alex Conerly,” she said of the band’s new guitarist. “I think sometimes when there is change, it can be intimidating at first, but it turns into something refreshing and new.” She says the group has an undeniable amount of synergy with each other. Tommy Norris is the guy I’ve been playing with the longest. He’s on mandolin, and sometimes he will write things instrumentally that I can put words to.” The band also features bass player Hasee Ciaccio. Wall says they work very well together. “When I write a song, I’ll write the chords, lyrics, and melody, but there is room for so many other things, and they are wonderful at their instruments that it makes the songs more interesting, fun to play, and dynamic with all of their ideas. It makes a wonderful combination.”
Ten of the sixteen cuts on the new album are originals – another distinction the band is excited about. “That was really important because while we all love traditional music, it’s so important to have original material because we all have fans out there and the only thing that keeps us separate is what we have that no one else has,” said Wall. “That’s original music. I consider myself a songwriter first, then a singer, and a fiddle player. I don’t get more joy out of anything than I do writing songs. I had quite a few this time, and they all told a story together. It was important to put an album out that was thought out, and more of a collection of songs that went together musically and lyrically.”
One of the most emotional moments on the disc is “Second Time Around” (SEE VIDEO), a cut that Wall admits she knows first hand. “I had been in a relationship, and gotten back with the same person, and it just ended up being exactly what I needed. The whole album is about the confusion of a break-up at twenty-two, and that one is special to me. When I wrote it, I could hear those three-part harmonies, which I love so much. It’s one of our favorite songs to play.”
Playing live is something that The Barefoot Movement definitely hopes is in their future. “For all of us, it has been such a long road. We started the band when we were in college. Hasee has one more year of school, so by the time she gets out, we would love to be touring as much as possible. We just want to play – and we want more and more people to hear our music and to like it. We just want to stay busy as much as we can,” she says.