Folk-rock superstar

Sophomore Bob Barrick sounds like a mix of Bob Dylan and Jack White, is inspired by Jimmy Buffett, plans to take his band to Mars and just won Java Jams. That’s just the beginning.

Bob Barrick is tired.

The sophomore English major and recent Java Jams victor spent the night before our interview in Bloomington, where he and his band—still untitled—performed at one of the member’s ex-girlfriend’s birthday party.

The ex was described as a “vegan econut”— so it almost makes sense the band ended up performing at a farm (in the absolute middle of nowhere) where the kitchen was outside and trash was composted.

“We performed from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.,” Barrick said. “We started marching around outside at one point, making up songs.”

While odd, it may not seem surprising to those who saw Barrick perform his intense, folk-rock songs at Java Jams, bringing in a full band the last round that included an accordion, an oboe and a banjo.

While they performed mostly original songs, they picked the Beatles’ “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” for their challenge song, giving proper respect and channeling a ‘60s  vibe.  You almost expected them to be in suits, playing on the “American Bandstand” stage.

“I’ve been singing since I was a wee boy,” Barrick said. “I picked up a guitar when I was 11 or 12.”

He and his band, however, didn’t form until around December. Some of them also came to the interview tired from their long night in Bloomington.

They included Scott Janz, senior music composition major; Brendan Cavanagh, sophomore English and education major; and Josh Turner, freshman digital media production major.

Turner, however, did not go to Bloomington, instead singing at the “Pirates of the Caribbean” live show at Clowes Memorial Hall last weekend.

The band has an easy rapport, talking at length about the night before and planning their future as the first band on Mars.

They do, however, have more short-term goals. They’re playing at the Help Heal Haiti benefit concert this Saturday, attempting to play some shows at Indiana University and planning on making an EP soon.

Also, as part of their Java Jams prize, they will open for the still-unannounced spring concert band.

Their other Java Jams prize was a $100 gift card to any place of their choosing.

“We chose Chili’s,” Cavanagh said.

Their back and forth isn’t all fun and games, though.

They take their music seriously—but not too seriously—citing Wilco, Animal Collective, The Band and Bob Dylan as influences.

Barrick specifically cites Jimmy Buffett, which seems odd when you compare Barrick’s folk tunes with Buffett’s light-hearted beach music. Barrick, however, said that the musician has had the most impact on his life and that he grew up with Buffett’s music.

They describe their music as lyrically introspective, conveying emotion through a song instead of telling a direct story.

Janz states it much more simply, saying that they just like to groove.

They may not know exactly where they’re heading just yet—except, maybe, Mars—but their success in the third round and Barrick’s personal success in the first two rounds may have given a push to start a musical career.

“He’s really grown as a musician,” said Katie Carlson, a junior Java Jams judge. “I was really impressed with his originals—he’s got a Bob Dylan, Americana feel to him. He managed to have everyone in the room zeroed in on him.”


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