Barefoot Truth
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Barefoot Truth

Upton, Massachusetts, United States

Upton, Massachusetts, United States
Band Rock Acoustic




"Traveling the Road to Success Barefoot"

Barefoot Truth set high expectations for their 2010 release, Threads

By Andrew Beam

After performing at a pre-presidential debate rally at Hofstra University where Bruce Hornsby plays before them and David Crosby and Graham Nash plays after, then performing at a festival in Wyoming, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, the Mystic Connecticut quintet is set to release their latest album entitled Threads in 2010. A disc which harmonica player Garrett Duffy exclaims “Is going to make a huge splash.”

The band had a busy year as they toured around the country in 2008 with former member of Dispatch, Pete Francis, released two EP’s, one with Francis and one with female vocalist Nia Kete. While doing all of that, the band was able to head into the studio with producer Scott Riebling who Evans hesitantly admits has worked with bands such as Fall Out Boy. This did not take away the impact he had on the group. “He really pushed us to do another take and get the best one,” Evans says. “Just having an engineer who’s patient enough and who knows how to get out of you what you’re capable of without crushing your spirit. He’s very constructive.” The band took a different route for recording than they did with their 2007 release, Walk Softly, where instead of recording in analog, the band went digital. Duffy says the band still kept the process they’ve done in the past by recording the songs onto Pro-tools and putting them on tape in order to keep an organic sound. “We’ve taken an analog approach to digital.”

The band decided to go with digital recording since they feel that it is the direction recording is heading in. “To compete with bands these days, you have to keep up on things like Pro-Tools,” Duffy says, “You want to compete with the best.” Both Evans and Duffy describe the album has having a much cleaner and “polished” sound. This isn’t solely due to the new recording process, but also because they’re more experienced. “I think people will really notice an improvement in this album on our part as musicians,” Evans says, “I think we’ve gotten a lot better and tighter as a group as well.”

The band has come a long way from the beaches in Mystic where Will Evans and Driscoll first started composing songs for what is now the five person group. While they were still a duo, they released Changes In The Weather in 2005. Evans didn’t see a future for these stripped down acoustic tracks him and Driscoll were playing. In fact, he wasn’t looking too far past that summer. “I envisioned playing the bars in the summer,” Evans says, “I certainly had no sights beyond the next summer. We just did it. We weren’t like, ‘This is the best thing in the world.’ We were just having fun and people seemed to enjoy it.”

After three years of playing just between the two of them, the duo began to slowly accumulate more members. Just as Evans and Driscoll began discussing adding an upright bass to the mix, classically trained jazz-bassist Andy Wrba came into the picture. Wrba attended a Barefoot Truth gig and introduced himself to the guys after the set. After that things progressed smoothly. “We got together and jammed one time and that was pretty much it from there,” Evans describes. “I think we had a gig the next day and we’re like, ‘Wanna come play with us?’ We wrote the songs out for him on the car ride there, and he’s got a great photographic memory so he learned songs quickly.”

Duffy made his way into the band after going to school with Evans at St. Michaels College in Vermont, where the two began holding jam sessions and Evans discovered Duffy’s talent as a harp [harmonica] player. “He ended up coming to some shows just for the ride and to get away from campus for the weekend,” Evans says, “He would sit in and he really caught on to the whole business of things.” Duffy, while being the lead harmonica player, became the band’s business manager. “He’s the business guy of the group and he’s the most band looking guy of all of us.” With Long curly hair, a wool-knit hat, a scraggly beard, and a long-sleeved flannel, it would be hard to see Duffy as business savvy. “He was a business major, and for his senior project he did the band,” Evans says. “He’s taking the role with handling the merchandise, which is helpful for sure. The fact he’s a great harp player is awesome.”

After incorporating Wrba and Duffy, the group recorded Walk Softly, where Wrba was able to throw his jazz influence into the mix of reggae, folk, and blues that Barefoot Truth all ready had in place. This is what came to create what the band likes to call “Roots Rock.” Songs like “Reelin’” and “Broken Road” showcased the diversity and the very rare lead harmonica that is prevalent in bands like Blues Traveler. The band began touring and noticing that people had really taken a liking to their live show. “I’ve had people tell me they like the songs live way better than the CD,” Evans says with a laugh.

Duffy would agree, as he admits that their live show is their “best asset”. “With five people, we can do some fun things,” he explains. “With our feel-good, upbeat songs, you can see the energy pick up in the crowd.” Evans has learned that when playing for a crowd the band cannot be playing for themselves, they have a job they need to accomplish. “People come out and they play money to see you. You have to entertain them,” he says. “You’ve got to make them happy.”

The band is ready to make their fans even happier as they ready the release of Threads in February of 2010. “These songs are going to propel us to the next level,” Duffy says excitingly. “We’re setting ourselves up well organizationally.” The album is varied in the styles it contains, as it includes a horn section that livens up their jazz side. “We bring it back to the classic ‘white reggae’ feel, that roots-rock vibe,” Evans says as he describes the album, “Also, we’ve been getting more into the Weissenborn stuff with Jay, going towards more of a John Butler Trio/Ben Harper style.”

They have acquired a new piano player, Wayno, who has played with the band for a few live shows. “We would always ask him to sit in if we had a bigger show,” Evans says. “He graduated last year so we took him on full time this summer.” Unfortunately, Wayno will not be on the new album since he was unavailable due to being in school. “We’ve got a big influence from Wayno,” Duffy says, “He brings the element of jazz with Andy.”

For 2009 and 2010, the band is hopeful that they will expand in the markets they have been playing in, like the New England area, as well as building up their fan club which is called “The Barefoot Collective” where they have 500 members from all over the world. Still, the band is not trying to rush into things by any means. “We’ll take it as it comes,” Evans says, “We don’t want to kill ourselves trying to get big; we want it to happen naturally.” - North Country Entertainment

"Barefoot Truth in the USA Today"

*See the last paragraph for Barefoot Truth Quotes

OAKLAND — Tim Westergren doesn't have to beat the drum as loudly anymore.
Thanks to the popularity of the iPhone and other smartphones, listenership has quadrupled since 2008 at Pandora, the free online radio service he founded. The private company just had its first profitable quarter and brought in about $40 million in revenue last year. It expects even more growth this year.

Not bad, considering that two years ago Pandora was on the verge of shutting down over new copyright royalties that threatened to bankrupt it before a settlement was reached.

In his position as Pandora's chief strategy officer, Westergren spent last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showing off Pandora on TVs, Blu-ray players, clock radios, car audio systems, TV set-top boxes and other devices.

Automaker Ford Motor will feature a Pandora app in its next-generation Sync in-car communication system. A new Web-connected clock radio from Sony, the $200 Dash, lets you wake up in the morning to the time, weather — and, if you like, your own personalized radio station from Pandora. Samsung, LG and Vizio all will be rolling out new TVs with built-in access to Pandora.

"We're getting to participate in a much bigger arena, which is anytime, anywhere," says Westergren, 44.

The upshot is that Pandora is morphing into a full-featured radio service available to all, not just computer users, Westergren says. "Broadcast radio's genius a long time ago was, 'Let's get into the car, into the home, on clock radios.' We want to do the same thing with Net radio, and that's happened."

After years of struggle to find an audience, Internet radio is finally coming of age as it expands to cellphones, TVs and other devices. Apple's iTunes dominates the market for digital downloads, but with 43 million registered users and an average 20 million listening monthly, many people are turning to Pandora — the largest source of online music listening in the U.S. — to hear favorite songs and discover new ones.

Unlike traditional radio, Pandora lets listeners shape a station based on their tastes.

Type an artist or the name of a song, and a station is created just for you. There are many music-recommendation engines on the Web, but Westergren believes he can match music better than most because for over 10 years he and a team of researchers have spent hours listening to music and compiling the different characteristics of each song.

Some 400 different elements of a song are noted, providing the backbone of what Westergren calls the Music Genome Project, which fuels Pandora.

It can tell you that if you like Steely Dan, you'll also dig Pink Floyd. It can define what The Police's Every Breath You Take is really all about.

Consider singer Sting's "breathy alto," Westergren says, or the synthesizer and drum sounds provided by Stewart Copeland. "We've taken each one of those things and measured them and captured the musical DNA of the song," he says. "So when you say, 'I like Every Breath You Take,' we break that down into musicological information and find the songs that share those characteristics."

To get the most out of Pandora, listeners are urged to use the "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" features when a song plays to tell the software what they like and don't like.

"It's like creating a bonsai tree," says Westergren, "where you clip some branches and let others grow and shape the station over time."

Even with the fine-tuning, Pandora's library is just 710,000 songs. Competitors Slacker, Rhapsody and MOG have 4 million to 6 million songs. If you listen to the same station for hours upon hours, you will hear a lot of repeats.

Westergren says the key is to either add artists to your stations or keep creating new ones. He also recommends the QuickMix feature, which mixes up music from different genres.

Music for you

Jim Feuille, a partner at Crosslink Capital, has invested $26 million in Pandora. Despite the plethora of music services, he says, "The Genome was really unique and hard to replicate."

That each song is individually analyzed works well, he believes: "Users are voting with their ears."

Feuille says an initial public stock offering could be in the future. "It's a rapidly growing company, so an IPO at some point is a consideration." But, he says, Pandora has a lot of challenges.

The company's $40 million in revenue in 2009 was almost entirely based on advertising. Pandora runs visual ads next to pictures of the artists being played, along with an occasional audio ad. (An ad-free, $3.95 monthly version of the service has few takers.) Westergren believes he can keep Pandora away from loud ads and screaming DJs because he has a better sales proposition than broadcast radio.

When folks register for Pandora, he gets their ZIP code and age. "One of the beauties of the Web is that we know who's listening and can target ads based on who the listeners are," Westergren says.

Holding Pandora back, however, are music licensing deals with the record labels for international distribution. Pandora is U.S.-only, for now.

"Our dream is to have hundreds of millions of listeners around the world," says Joe Kennedy, Pandora's CEO. "We wish there was an easy solution to music licensing."

As CEO, Kennedy says he's the "theologian" to Westergren's "evangelist." He provides what Westergren calls the "adult supervision" for the company. His background has come in handy this year with the new car audio deals with Ford and Pioneer, which also has announced support for Pandora in a new in-dash audio/navigation system.

Kennedy ran sales and marketing for General Motors' soon-to-be-defunct Saturn division for 18 years. "I'm very comfortable talking to the auto industry," he says.

Phil Leigh, an analyst at Inside Digital Media, thinks Pandora's move into the car is going to be big for the company — and tough for satellite radio.

"Why buy satellite when you can get Pandora for free?" he says.

Trying to please

Westergren is the face of Pandora. He welcomes you via e-mail when you register for the service and sends out periodic notes thanking folks for listening and offering musical ideas.

The idea for the Music Genome Project stemmed from his years of trying to make it as a film composer for independent films.

"When you write scores … you pick sounds and harmonies and tonality to achieve a specific musical objective and spend a lot of time trying to figure what a director wants," he says. "It's like a musical genome. You're figuring out what someone likes and why, so when you go into the studio, you can turn that into a composition."

In 2000, he began the Music Genome Project as something that could be licensed to other music services, but it didn't fare too well. He launched Pandora as an online radio service in 2004.

Word of mouth was massive, and by 2007 Pandora had garnered nearly 10 million listeners.

Then came the iPhone in June 2007. Pandora was its first free music app when the iTunes App Store opened in July 2008.

"Overnight, essentially, our growth doubled," he says. "But, more importantly, it made people realize Internet radio isn't something you listen to on the computer but could take with you. I can go to the gym and hear my own personal station. The usage of Pandora just exploded."

As Pandora spreads to more consumer electronics, getting the service "into the home, on the TV, is going to be very interesting," says Mike McGuire, an analyst at Gartner. "You could see consumers creating stations based on dinner music and kids' birthday parties, and that will be really big."

Christmas Day was Pandora's biggest ever, with 200,000 new sign-ups.

Melanie Richmond, 21, a Chicago-area college student, discovered Pandora a year ago.

"It really does play a constant flow of music you really want to hear, even if you've never heard of some of the artists," she says.

Richmond has tried competitor Slacker but says, "The song choice wasn't as reliable, and there were too many ads."

Jason Pratt, 28, a photographer from Jacksonville, has become a fan of new music he's discovered on his Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon stations.

He liked two bands so much that were mixed in —Silversun Pickups and The Weeks — that he bought their CDs and attended their concerts. "This is stuff I never heard on local radio," he says.

That kind of discovery can be powerful for young musicians.

Jay Driscoll, guitarist for indie band Barefoot Truth, submitted one of the band's CDs (Pandora's only requirement for band submissions is a CD available for purchase on and started getting played on the service.

One song in particular, Roll if Ya Fall, started showing up on stations created for fans of Bob Dylan, Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews. "All of a sudden, people we had never met before were buying our music online and asking us to play in their cities," Driscoll says. "Then we started seeing strangers singing the words to the songs at our shows."

The song has received more than 3 million plays on Pandora and gotten the band gigs up and down the East Coast.

"Pandora has basically created an avenue for us to have a career in music," Driscoll says.
- USA Today

"5 Questions with Barefoot Truth"

How did your band form? Where and when?

Barefoot Truth started as an acoustic duo formed by William Evans and Jay Driscoll in Mystic in 2004. Harmonica player Garrett Duffy, upright bassist Andy Wrba, and pianist John “Wayno” Waynelovich were added in following years.

What type of music do you play? Describe it.

We play roots-rock music. It is an eclectic blend of folk, rock, blues and jazz. Our instrumentation features didgeridoo, weissenborn lap guitar, upright bass, harmonica and piano.

What’s your live show like?
omebody recently described our live show as a “groove machine.” We aren’t sure exactly what that means but it sounds nice, doesn’t it? Our live show consists of constant variations of original songs, mixed in with some fun, unexpected covers. We try to keep the show as dynamic as possible, playing everything from storyteller acoustic tunes to jams that get everybody jumping.

Why has your band been so successful?

The success — in our eyes — is that we have all been living, working and creating together for a few years now and we are still having a blast with each other. The band is fortunate to have a foundation rooted in friendship, rather than business.

What’s in the future for your band?

Our new album, Threads, will be released Feb. 16.
You can download the album from our Web site,, iTunes or get it at any of our live shows. Fans can pre-order the CD along with some really cool organic merchandise from our Web site now. We hope that our new CD helps take our music to new circles of listeners all over the world. If people keep spreading the music and continue to come back for more, then we get to continue creating music for a living. What more could we ask for? - Norwich Bulletin

"A Logistical Thread"

The road can really make or break a band, no matter how long the act has been around or the length of the tour.

Just a few years after forming, Barefoot Truth embarked upon a weekend trip in spring 2007 that wasn't exactly a Spinal Tap adventure, but it did prompt everyone to think long and hard about future touring.

To start with, there was trouble with the band's new minivan, and singer/guitarist co-founders Will Evans and Jay Driscoll were fighting strep throat and a cold, respectively. But perhaps worst of all was that Barefoot Truth's New England-to-Ohio-and-back run involved a tremendous amount of driving over the course of three days, and that was only magnified by the need to be back home in time for college classes on Monday.

"To drive 30 hours for two shows, only to return to final exams, is one way to burn yourself out," Evans says. "To us, that will always be the scariest part of being a touring band -- burning out. We see it all the time with bands at our level. To us, there is no reason to force the issue. When a tour makes logistical sense, it gives you a better sense of purpose. Otherwise, you're just driving back and forth like a chicken with its head cut off.

"We all know that when the band morale is down, the music suffers, and our goal is to put on a good show for people."

Tours have been much broader and more structured since then for the rootsy quintet. Last year, Barefoot Truth played in Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Wyoming for the first time.

When they're not on the road, all five members live together under the same roof in Mystic, Conn.

"We are friends first," Evans says, "and even if we weren't in a band, there's a good chance some of us might still live together."

One of the positives of this arrangement, he says, is the ability to bounce ideas off one another all the time.

"The minute you come up with a new song, you can start adding everyone's two cents to it," he adds.

Like every independent artist, Barefoot Truth is looking for ways to reach listeners, and one avenue that’s helped increase the band’s fan base is the Internet radio site Pandora. Barefoot Truth has racked up a reported 4.5 million spins on Pandora, with most of those plays being for the songs "Roll If Ya Fall" and "The Ocean" (from the 2005 album Changes in the Weather), according to Evans.

That stat bodes well for the potential interest in the new Barefoot Truth album, Threads, due Feb. 16.

"I think Pandora is really like the new Napster," Evans says. "It's the most accessible way for indie artists to get free promotion of their music. We've always been an advocate of burning our music; we'd rather have more people hear the music than not at all. The hope is that they'll like what they hear enough to go buy it on iTunes or come see us live."

-- By Chris M. Junior - Medleyville


"Changes in the Weather" (2005),
"Club House Sessions" (2006),
"Walk Softly" (2007),
"All Good Reasons Single" (2008),
"Life is Calling" (2009),
"Threads" (Feb 2010)



In the small New England town of Mystic, Connecticut, lives Barefoot Truth, an independent band that is quietly creating history. You have never seen them on MTV, nor heard them on a Top 40 FM radio station, but with 5.5 million spins on Pandora, Barefoot Truth has quickly become a symbol of independent music success, and just may be 'the biggest band you've never heard of'. Mixing the sounds of folk, rock, jazz, and reggae, with lyrics full of unbridled optimism, the band has crafted a sound that is distinctly Barefoot Truth.

Since the band's establishment during college, Barefoot Truth has been developing this signature sound that has virally spread through a grassroots following. With their lead singer on drums, and an array of unlikely roots-based instrumentation, the band translates their originality to their ever-evolving live show. The quintet features Will Evans on lead vocals and drums, John Waynelovich on piano, Jay Driscoll on Weissenborn slide guitar, Andy Wrba on upright bass, and Garrett Duffy on harmonica. It is not unlikely for members of the band to switch instruments mid-show, or even begin playing a didjeridoo, adding to the dynamic of the band's sound.

Mixing a strong environmental message with the lofty theme of humankind's interconnectedness on their 2010 studio album 'Threads', Barefoot Truth reached #21 on the iTunes Rock Charts, momentarily stepping ahead of bands such as Dave Matthews Band and The Fray. The new disc was noted as "The best independently released album of 2010" by ThisIsModern. Barefoot Truth happily credits Pandora Radio for their crucial role in growing the bands silent army of listeners, as Driscoll recently stated in a USA Today article, "Pandora has basically created an avenue for us to have a career in music".

Since taking the band 'full-time' in 2007, after finishing college, Barefoot Truth has earned spotlight attention on many levels, including an invitation to play at President Obama's pre-debate rally in New York, where they performed between Bruce Hornsby and Crosby and Nash. They were asked to lend several songs from their new album 'Threads' to the upcoming 'Nature Propelled' film, in addition to scoring original music for the film. The band has also made appearances at major festivals such as Summerfest, 10,000 Lakes Festival, and FloydFest, in addition to tallying over 100 college and prepschool performances in the Northeast. Fans of Barefoot Truth can be confident that the quiet success of this small band will grow increasingly louder, one listener at a time...

"OK" Live:

"Reelin" Official Music Video:

"All Good Reasons" Acoustic Music Video:

"Roll If Ya Fall" Live: