10 February 2020

Background to a new release

The BIB editor writes:

The Bonfire Music Group announce the release of the new five-track EP Rise and fly by The Barefoot Movement (also on Facebook). The Nashville-based Americana band, made up of Noah Wall (vocals, fiddle), Tommy Norris (mandolin), Alex Conerly (guitar, vocals), and Katie Blomarz (bass, vocals), were 'Band of the Year' in the IBMA Momentum awards of 2014.

'Early in the morning', the lead single of the EP, was released on 22 November, and the EP title Rise and fly comes from words in that song. You can see and hear the Barefoot Movement's video of the single on YouTube.

Announced as 'a remake of a traditional recording', it adapts a work song sung in 1947 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary by four inmates - '22', Little Red, Tangle Eye, and Hard Hair - and recorded by Alan Lomax. In work songs the rhythm, the drive, the energy, and the length of the song arise directly from the work being done, and on top of this '22' and his fellows delivered 'Early in the morning' in an intense, complex polyphonic style.

The Barefoot Movement adopt a similar complex vocal arrangement, but add instruments and drop three of the five original verses. If you hear their version, I suggest you listen to the Lomax recording as well. I first heard it on the Pye-Nixa album Murderers' home (cover image above right), all the tracks of which can be heard here. The members of Prison Love will know what I'm talking about.

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