The Barefoot Movement Releases Single Ahead of New Album

The Barefoot Movement brings about a fresh era with their new single. 

If you aren’t barefoot, you’re overdressed. … From high school buddies to bandmates, Noah Wall and Tommy Norris have spent the last ~two decades making a name for themselves in the bluegrass world via their progressive Americana group, The Barefoot Movement

After a forced pandemic hiatus, the dynamic duo—hailing from Oxford, NC—had to face a decision: move on or bring their music and motives through a renaissance. The power couple pushed on and just released their newest single, “Let It Out”—a “kind of battle cry for all who fight a war with anxiety and depression,” says Wall. Here, the bandmates take us back to their roots, delving into the deets of their latest song and giving us a sneak peak of what’s to come next. Play on… 

Take us back to the meet-cute. 

Noah: We met in high school in Granville County 18 years ago. [Tommy] brought a guitar to senior English class, and I was really intrigued by his musical abilities. At that point, we started playing together and kept it going through college. He picked up the mandolin somewhere along the way, while I’ve always been a fiddle player and singer. Throughout college, we collected different band members to support our sound on the road, and they’ve come and gone. … Now, it’s back to the two of us. 

Tune us in to what you’ve been up to the last two decades.

Noah: We’ve put out three full length albums, two EPs, one live record, a Christmas album and a number of singles. We are ahead of our fourth album that comes out next year and our first single came out last week. We have gone from touring regionally and booking ourselves to acquiring a booking agency, which allows us to do more extensive touring. Now, we’ve been to most of the U.S., Burkina Faso, Africa and Canada. 

Spill the tea on the new single.

Tommy: It’s called ‘Let It Out.’ I was falling asleep one night, and I had a melody pop in my head. That’s the worst time for a song to pop in your head because you have to make the decision to get up and record it, or try to remember it in the morning. Most of the time you don’t remember it. Being lazy, I didn’t decide to get up and record it. I took a risk and spent time figuring out how it would look in music notation, and, luckily, I remembered it. 

Noah: Normally I would write lyrics first, but this time, the music came first. I listened to the music to see how it made me feel and what I wanted to say. The point of the song is when you are dealing with something, it’s important to let it out. You don’t want to bottle things up—there has to be a balance of knowing when you can move on. 

Is the rest of the album going to follow the same tone? 

Noah: We allowed ourselves to experiment a little bit more in the studio. I think in the past, we’ve been thinking more about how we would play it live, but this time we wanted to make a good record. We just followed the songs where they led. The song ‘Let it Out’ ended up being the album title as well because it works well with the rest of the songs, and now that it’s back to Tommy and I, we are a little more comfortable with our story. In the past, it’s been a band of four people. … We tried to make it more egalitarian and didn’t talk about our relationship, even though that has been the backbone of everything. We are willing to tap into some of our rock ’n’ roll influences and let go of any musical inhibitions.

Any musicians make their mark and influence your sound?

Noah: We both bonded over Led Zeppelin early on. 

Tommy: Physical Graffiti or IV

Noah: We were classic-rock kids and grew up in the grunge era. In small ways that has come out in our previous recordings, but we just let ourselves lean into that. I wouldn’t say it’s a rock ’n’ roll record—there are still a lot of folk elements in there. We definitely wanted to keep the fact that we play acoustic instruments at the center. 

*Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity. 

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.