Interview by Corrine Jensen
November 20, 2011
First performing as an acoustic duo, Barefoot Truth
was born on the summer beaches of Mystic, CT., and has grown over the years
into a dynamic 5-man multi-instrumented line up led by co-founders Will Evans
(Lead Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Didgeridoo) and Jay Driscoll (Weissenborn
Lap Guitar, Acoustic & Electric Guitars), and joined by Andy Wrba (Electric
& Upright Bass) Garrett Duffy (Harmonica,) and John “Wayno”
Waynelovich (Pianos, Organs).
Together they’ve created a distinct sound that is a
blend of root-rock, jazz, folk and reggae. Their shows are high energy and
filled with fans singing and dancing to catchy songs filled with lyrics that
are both meaningful and uplifting because as Evans puts it "People have enough
to deal with in their lives. When they go out to a show, let them be happy."
Barefoot Truth remains an independent band that
continues to take a grassroots approach to the music scene. Through hard work,
planning and the strength of their music they’ve created an impressive resume:
their latest album Carry Us On shot to #10 on the iTunes rock album chart,
they recently hit over 8 million plays on Pandora Radio, and their song "Threads" was featured in the game ‘Rock Band’.
Recently these 5 guys, who refer to each other as "brothers" and are as close as family, took time out of their busy touring
schedule to speak with WailingCity.com.
WC: Will, you grew
up in the area, how did that influence you getting into music and what
experiences did you have here?
I grew up in
Mystic but for a few years my family moved to Burlington, VT and I went to a
very liberal school where music was very encouraged. We moved back to Mystic
and I went to Cutler Middle School where I started playing trumpet in Jazz,
which was actually my first instrument. I was also in choir, where I was the
WC: I bet you got
all the girls...
Far from it!
(Laughing). But then I went to Fitch and I
continued in Jazz, but to be in Jazz you also had to be in Marching Band and
ultimately I didn’t like the structure of it all and it was stifling
creatively, so I quit. But in the summers I would go to Esker Point Beach with
my friends for the concerts and I remember watching all the great shows like
Daddy Band and I really liked watching the drummers and would think
‘I can do that.’ So, during my sophomore year I picked up my dad’s guitar and
he and I kind of taught me how to play. That’s also when I started playing the
drums. I played in a rock and roll cover band called Overdrive for a while but
that got frustrating and I wanted the freedom to express myself musically.
That’s kind of the time I met Jay and we started jammin’ together.
WC: Jay, you grew
up in Massachusetts but met Will down in Connecticut, what brought you to the
I have cousins
who live in Groton Long Point and I spent every summer there. I still have lots
of family in the area and it’s basically a second home for me. Will and I were
introduced through a mutual friend the summer between High School and College
and I remember going out and watching him perform in Overdrive. During college
we kept in touch and visited each other and kept making music.
going to UMASS, where Jay went to school, and we would jam in the stairwell of
his dorm and it was about 26 floors and all cement. It had great acoustics. We
then played casually in some bars along the Connecticut shoreline and in Rhode
Island as a duo.
WC: So, then you
went from 2 to 5. How did each of you guys (Andy, Garrett and Wayno) join
Before I knew
who they were, I was at a Jurassic 5
concert and a mutual friend told me they
were looking for a bassist. I contacted them (Will and Jay) and we talked but
we were all busy and things didn’t work out. A few months later I went to one
of their shows and I liked their sound and introduced myself and shortly after
I was part of Barefoot Truth.
I met Will in college (St.
Michael's) and wanted to jam with him and other friends so I started playing
the Harmonica because no one else did and also, because my older brother
used to play it. I remember my first official show was at the Coast Guard
Academy in New London in 2006.
Andy and I were in Jazz Studies together at Westfield
State and I was incredibly intimidated because he was such a monster on the
bass. At his final Jazz Studies recital he transformed the Barefoot Truth song "Reelin" into this huge 18-piece jazz composition and all the guys from the
band were there and I was played piano for it. Later, I played on two songs for
their Walk Softly
CD. It was an interesting time because I would play some
shows with them but I still had 2 years of college left and the guys were
already out there doing their own thing. I grew up listening to and playing
Dixie and Swing and I’m super proud of that but I’m most proud of what I’ve
done with Barefoot Truth. These guys already had their own sound, their own
product, and I had to figure out my place in all that.
WC: So you’re not
only the newest but you’re also the youngest, how’s that?
I do feel like the youngest but we’re all equal. I’m
a little more different, from my hobbies to what I eat, but being with these
guys has opened me to so many interesting things and ideas. It’s neat.
Wayno is an
WC: Barefoot Truth
was officially born in Mystic, Ct what experiences have you guys had living and
performing in the area?
We lived in Mystic, as a band, for 3 years and we
hung out when we could. There’s not a lot of our style, our sound, in the area
but we’ve played locally at places like The Bean and Leaf
and The Hygienic
Art Park, which was a great show and we had a great response.
I remember the
Hygienic. We were playing outdoors and it was just a beautiful night.
I only lived in Mystic with the guys for a year but
it was a great place to be a band and create music and provided a solid home
base to come home to. I love that area. It’s where we met Raise the Rent
allowed us to play with them and other bands.
We love Raise the Rent, they’re cool!
WC: Barefoot Truth
is playing at The Garde Arts Center Thanksgiving weekend on November 26th.
How does it feel to be playing such a large venue so close to home?
We love playing
there. Will and Jay both have family in the area and it’s nice to catch up and
when you can incorporate that love into a show, that’s always a good thing.
special to come back and play for friends and family. When we see how excited
they are at our growth as a band, it keeps us excited.
always a thrill when playing big venues like The Garde but there’s also
something special about playing small venues or even in a barn like here
(Holcomb Farms), it’s so vintage. But we’re definitely looking forward to the
show because we appreciate local shows and it is a Homecoming for us.
It’s more or less home for us because that’s where
WC: You guys have
been called the ‘symbol of independent music success’, how do you feel about
that label and why are you unsigned?
is a big title and it’s amazing, sometimes we’re blown away from it. As for why
we’re not signed? It has never been a priority for us. If that’s why you’re in
it, then you’re probably in it for the wrong reasons.
WC: What do you
guys do outside of Barefoot Truth?
I’ve been doing some solo shows on the Cape,
where I live now, and it’s liberating because there’s no set list and I just
play off of the vibe of the crowd. But playing with the guys, there is the
warmth of a family behind you. It’s nice to have when you’re having a tough
night. It’s nice to know you can rely on your brothers.
I do some
funk/jazz jammin’ on Monday nights with a rotating group of musicians in
Pittsfield, Ma. It’s a little more song base and loose and intimate. I’m also
big on family and I spend time working on my family’s orchard (Riiska Brook Orchard)
whenever I can.
I’m currently training for a marathon and eating lots of candy. Yep!
I’m also a musical theatre geek and occassionally do a production in my town
with my family who owns a performing arts building. I also try to keep busy
musically. (Check Wayno out on Raise the Rent’s album Dig & Be Dug)
Today I was actually helping
Wayno’s family build a set for a performance. Other than that I keep busy with
Barefoot Truth and friends and family.
I’m an avid practitioner of Yoga and I do many other outdoor
activities. I’ve also started to write and compose songs.
WC: What advice do
you have for musicians/singers/bands trying to make it?
trying to figure it out! We’re still very much grassroots but I would say it’s
all about balance. You gotta find the happy medium of not driving yourself
crazy on the road. Play less shows but make them better shows. It’s easy to
burn yourself out trying to play everywhere. Picking when to play and where is
important. Be cautious and smart with touring.
It’s hard work.
I would say practice and persistence. And practice doesn’t necessarily mean
shredding the bass, it could mean actively listening to music or studying music
theory. It helps to set realistic goals and learn about yourself and what you
playing in a band it’s more important to base it on friendship and not to let
music get in the way of that. Play with people you like.
I have a lot of respect for these guys. It’s amazing.
I’ve made four best friends.