Interview: The Barefoot Movement

 

You’ll to want to strap on your dancing shoes for The Barefoot Movement’s upcoming energetic performance at The Cedar. Whether you are seeking an emotional ballad, some bangin’ acoustic barn-burners, or maybe even a nostalgic tune, this acoustic-pop quartet delivers a little bit of something for everyone. So come on down, lace up your bootstraps, and get ready to move your feet with these entertaining Americana performers on August 23rd featuring Pleasure Horse at The Cedar.

 

We spoke to Noah Wall lead singer, fiddler, and founding member of The Barefoot Movement to discuss the band’s on-stage dynamic, the evolution of their sound, and some of her greatest influences; tickets are still available here.

 

Q: One striking thing in your earlier videos is that you used to perform around one mic. You’ve recently switched up your stage set up. Why did you make this transition?

A: (Noah Wall)  The one mic thing does have it’s advantages, like being able to control your own dynamics, and the choreography of it added a nice element of movement to the show.  But ultimately we found that we wanted our vocals to pop a little bit more and with height differences and vocal volume discrepancies between our singers, we just couldn’t ever achieve the sound we wanted.  It was also an issue of vocal health.  Having a microphone right in front of you allows you to sing at a normal volume and still be heard.  Of course, there are negative sides to being separated as well but considering all the pros and cons, we felt the move to separate mics would be the most beneficial to the music.

 

Q: In 2014, you were honored by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) with the Momentum Award, an award meant to acknowledge newcomers in the Bluegrass Scene. Three years later, how has your sound evolved as a band?

A: We have always had one foot in tradition and one in progression.  IBMA does as well, and I think they do a good job of recognizing artists from both camps and anything in between.  Our music continues to draw from both.  We’re just trying to write and/or revive great songs.  We definitely don’t “try” to write a certain way or have a certain sound.  We wouldn’t even characterize the whole canon of what we do as strictly “bluegrass.”  We don’t really know what to call it!  We just look for things that inspire us and if the four of us arrange it, it will come out sounding like us, and that’s the most important thing, is to have a sound that is your own.

 

Q: The “movement” can be traced back to your teen years when singer-songwriter and fiddler Noah Wall and mandolinist Tommy Norris met while attending high school. What about your upbringing most influences how you make music?

A: We all come from different musical backgrounds, but I think the key is remembering what gets you excited.  For me personally, I have always loved great songs with great lyrics and melodies by great songwriters, from any genre.  That and good harmony singing!  I want to write things that get stuck in people’s heads and they don’t mind it.  My band mates are great at making the instrumental side of the songs interesting.  They’ll add a cool chord here and a rhythm change there, always having some new dynamic shift, even if it’s super subtle.  The little things like that make the music move and keep people engaged, even if they couldn’t say exactly why or what it is.

 

Q: As a band of songwriters, you’ve written a variety of original songs while also covering some bluegrass fan favorites. What kinds of things can we expect during your upcoming performance?

A: I would say mostly original material, with everything from smooth ballads to high energy toe tappers.  We do a few traditional tunes and a few covers people will recognize.  I feel good about saying that our shows offer something for everyone because there is a lot of variety.  Most importantly though, we want to give people a chance to escape.  We don’t want them thinking about the things that stress them out.  We want them to come to our shows and have a much needed and much-deserved break from all of that.

 

Q: What is inspiring you lately?

A: I think right now there is so much great storytelling going on in all art forms.  Great stories inspire me.  I love having the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of someone else and I think that’s what I love about songwriting.  I may be writing about something that I went through personally, but I know that someone out there will be able to relate and apply it to their situation.  Also, with all the division that is happening in our country and around the world, we really want to make music that brings people together.  Keeping that in mind as sort of the “ultimate goal” inspires me to continue doing what I’m doing.