Hipsters may only consider checking out Bobby Bare's "Things Change" due to the participation of hot item Chris Stapleton, who sings on a remake of the old hit "Detroit City." Hopefully, though, they'll immediately recognize Bare's immense talent and stick around for the whole shooting match. Bare's no spring chicken anymore, but he sounds extremely good throughout this classic-sounding country effort.
Bare's singing voice may not be a thing of country beauty the way, say, George Jones and Merle Haggard are respected, but nobody can bring out sincere vocal sadness better than Bare. "Ain't No Sure Thing" is saturated with hopelessness. And while songwriter Mary Gauthier smartly got inside the head of an alcoholic with "I Drink," Bare somehow inhabits the part bodily. This may not be his lot in life, but if you didn't know him better, you'd believe this was his own sad tale. Bare brings out this same hopelessness with "The Trouble with Angels." Its chorus ends with the sad truth, "They all fly away." These flighty dreams have "rusty old halos and make believe wings," Bare reminds us, with utterly sad resignation.
Bare, the consummate storyteller, shows off his sense of humor on "Trophy Girl." Much like those impossible-to-capture angels, trophy wives/girlfriends "don't hang around too long." Not only are they tough to keep, but they're constantly looking for greener pastures elsewhere. Maybe it's better to buy a sports car during that midlife crisis. They're are much easier to hang onto because they can't leave on their own.
With "Things Change," Bobby Bare has created one of his best albums. Be glad that making great music isn't one of those things that have changed in Bare's life.