A true a symbol of genuine independent music success, Barefoot Truth’s dedicated and ever expanding grassroots following, including more than 28 million plays on Pandora (as of January 2016), has been built one listener at a time.
It wasn’t planned this way. In the beginning, it wasn’t a band, it wasn’t even a concept. It was just two friends getting together and doing what they loved most. Will Evans (guitar, drums, vocals) and Jay Driscoll (acoustic, electric, Weissenborn guitars) met in Mystic, CT shortly after graduating high school, and they spent much of that summer playing music together, often strumming guitars and singing on the beach. Come fall, Evans went off to St. Michael’s College in Burlington, VT, and Driscoll headed to UMass-Amherst. Though neither knew it at the time, Barefoot Truth had already taken its first step.
They kept in touch over the school year and got together to jam when they could. And each time they did, it became more obvious–something was brewing here. So, during the summer of 2004, Evans and Driscoll put together a set of covers and original songs and began performing live as Barefoot Truth, for the first time. For the next three years, they remained an acoustic duo, performing and recording two albums (“Changes in the Weather” and “Club House Sessions”, both produced by the Grammy nominee Jack Gauthier), and crafting their own style while earning their college degrees. They had decided, at that time, to begin reaching for a fuller sound yet they still didn’t know what form that would take. But their ears were wide open.
Building the band was an organic process. Upright and electric bassist Andy Wrba caught a Barefoot Truth show at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA in 2006 introducing himself after the set. The next day, he sat in with Evans and Driscoll at a show that turned out to be his audition. To become the newest member of Barefoot Truth. A quick study, with a degree in Jazz Studies, (he learned all the songs for the first show during the 30 minute drive to the gig), Wrba brought a much-needed low end to the band’s groove, and his versatility and deep musical knowledge immediately helped shape their compositions. Garrett Duffy, a college friend of Evans’, was a budding harmonica player who initially got involved; not so much to play but to help promote the band, book some gigs, and enjoy the road trips with the boys. But once his harp talent was fully revealed, he was asked to play on a couple of tracks on “Club House Sessions.” From there, he jumped in fully as a band member, and soon his signature harmonica bends became an integral part of the Barefoot Truth sound.
Now a quartet, the band spent the 2006-07 school year practicing and playing gigs across New England and into the Midwest, spending most weekends performing for college audiences who had heard the buzz and increasingly sought them out. They were honing their sound, cultivating a grassroots following, and having a ball.
Following graduation, the show moved onto the band’s new, and current headquarters, in Mystic, CT where the set up shop devoting their full attention to their music. But there was still one more piece to the puzzle.
The last to join was keyboard player John “Wayno” Waynelovich. He was still in school studying jazz and classical piano and musical education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts when he was invited to play on their third release, “Walk Softly”, in the summer of 2007. Wayno was the final piece in what has turned out to be a complex and wildly popular musical puzzle known as Barefoot Truth.
Work on their fourth full-length CD, “Threads”, and their first as a quintet, began in the summer of 2008. Due to a busy touring schedule that included colleges, clubs, and festivals, plus a couple of EPs (“Wake the Mountain”, with Pete Francis of Dispatch, and “Life is Calling”, with Naia Kete) Released in February 2010 to great critical acclaim, “Threads” revealed how far they had come musically since 2004 and how unlimited their future potential was to become.
The band truly broke through during 2010 with ever-growing audiences who couldn’t get enough of what they had to offer. Persistent touring in support of “Threads” and their acclaimed, high- energy live act were earning Barefoot Truth a loyal fan base that flocked to shows. Meanwhile, online radio service Pandora was spreading their music to worldwide audiences. The band also provided songs and the film score for the award-winning documentary “Nature Propelled.” The single, “Threads”, also found its way into the MTV music empire, ultimately ending up in the MTV video game “Rock Band”.
It was during that time that they began work on their most accomplished recording yet, “Carry Us On,” which debuted at #10 on the iTunes Rock Charts. This release finds Barefoot Truth confidently hitting their stride and at their full power as a group.
In August 2012, after 7 years on the road, the band announced a Farewell Tour. The band stated that the “turning of a new chapter” was by no means a reflection of suffering friendships between band members. The five friends maintain that their “brotherhood bond” will never fade. Though the band maintains that their “full-time” touring days are over, they still treat their loyal following to a performance once or twice a year.
Much has changed since that summer in 2003, as Barefoot Truth has grown to become a true musical force of nature.
Lead Vocals, drums, guitar, didjeridoo
As the self described founder and CEO of Barefoot Truth, Will Evans began what is fast becoming his musical legacy in 2004 when he teamed up with his good friend Jay Driscoll to form an acoustic duo.
Believe it or not, it all began in the church choir, where Will discovered his love of music and singing and it hasn’t stopped since. Will’s musical curiosity led him to explore the piano and then the trumpet, at an early age. When he discovered drums and percussion however, he knew he was home.In addition to playing drums and providing lead vocals, as the leader of Barefoot Truth, Will also plays the guitar, mandolin and the didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument whose origin dates back some 1,500 years.
Asked about his start in music, Will explains ” After freshmen year of high school my dad taught me a few chords on an old 1973 martin D 28 acoustic guitar. (sort of like the red Ryder BB guns of acoustic guitars) I was hooked. I taught myself the rest, and I’ve held that guitar hostage ever since.”
As Barefoot Truth evolved from an acoustic duo on the Connecticut shoreline to what is now commonly referred to as a “musical force of nature” touring throughout the United States, Will focused more on writing and recording. A prolific songwriter, he prides himself on writing songs based on his many life experiences, both in the United States and overseas. As the primary songwriter for the band, Will’s creative work has culminated in his finest effort to date, the recently released “Carry Us On”.
Asked about his proudest accomplishments with the band, Will lists, “Learning to write music to include everyone’s unique styles; seeing our
music used in outdoor films; going to play music in Europe with The Sweet Remains; playing some of the most amazing venues in New England and playing with the likes of Crosby and Nash, Bruce Hornsby, State Radio, Howie Day, Eric Hutchinson and Grace Potter.” He continues, ” But mostly hearing from fans, friends and family what the music means to them and how it has found its way into their lives.”
When not on stage, or on the road, you can track Will down either surfing, paddle boarding, slacklining, skiing, hiking or playing hockey, soccer or tennis. But when you find him, you better be prepared to keep up!
Guitar, weissneborn slide guitar
A prankster at heart, Barefoot Truth co-founder Jay Driscoll provides a solid presence in the band, playing both traditional acoustic and electric guitar, as well as the unique lap style Weissenborn slide guitar, an instrument first manufactured in the 1920s and 1930s.
Despite being advised at the age of 14 against a career in music by his father who assured him that “we don’t have a musical bone in our family”, Jay taught himself how to play the guitar while strumming along to his favorite songs, ultimately developing a compelling and catchy style of his own.
Asked how he first became interested in the Weissenborn guitar, Jay explained, ” During college I would often visit my Uncle Dixie, a Vermont farmer, who used to play the Dobro to the horses. Before passing away, he taught me a lot of the basics of playing lap slide. I had seen Ben Harper playing a Weissenborn lap slide and had to try it. So I bought one on E-bay after college.”
Jay didn’t stray far from his hometown roots in South Hadley, Massachusetts to attend the University of Massachusetts where he continued to refine his musical skills playing guitar in the stairwell of his dorm.
During the summer of 2004, a year after meeting Will, the two friends put together a set of covers and original songs and began performing live as Barefoot for the first time. For the next three years, they remained an acoustic duo, performing and recording two albums and crafting their own style, while earning their college degrees.
Jay currently resides in MA with his wife and son and has recently returned to the University of Massachusetts to earn his Master’s in Education in addition to working as a counselor in a local school district.
Jay continues to create music through a project called Tabata Songs, which he and Wayno co-founded in 2011. Tabata Songs specializes in creating workout music for a High Intensity Interval Training style of workout called Tabata. The project went viral in 2012 and currently has over 30,000,000 YouTube channel views. The music of Tabata Songs has continuously topped the iTunes Fitness & Workout Charts for the past several years.
Upright bass, bass guitar
Andy Wrba was destined for a career in music. His parents brought the best of New York City and the beautiful Berkshires of western Massachusetts to Andy, weaving an early appreciation for music into his young life. Starting at age 13 on his mom’s acoustic guitar, Andy soon joined his dad jamming to the blues on the family piano. Acknowledging the special place that music had found in his life, he soon bought his first electric guitar and electric bass. Since that time, there’s been no looking back.
Andy went on to play it all; jazz, rock, funk, and soul – nothing was off limits. By the time college rolled around, there was no doubt that Andy would pursue advanced studies in music. He received his degree in Jazz Studies from Westfield State College in 2011, where he also met Wayno, Barefoot Truth’s keyboardist, for the first time.
In his spare time, Andy can generally be found in one of the four places he counts among his favorites in the world; his grandparent’s apple orchard, Tanglewood (the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra), a soccer field or New York City.
Asked for thoughts on his Barefoot Truth experience, Andy said, “I met Will, Jay, and Garrett at the Iron Horse Music Hall in January 2006 and soon after I joined the Truth full time. Since then, they have all become like brothers to me. My favorite part about Barefoot Truth is the family quality that we all share with each other, our friends, families, and fans. It’s been amazing how the five of us have grown together and have met some truly wonderful people along the way.”
Garrett Duffy began his Barefoot Truth experience when he joined the band in 2006 on the harmonica. On November 5th 2011, Garrett released his debut solo album called Drift East. Drift East reached #9 on the iTunes singer songwriter chart. You can find out more about Garrett’s music at www.garrettduffy.com
Having grown up in both Alaska and Florida, Garrett is well acquainted with the flow of change and the creative push of contrasts. He has lived in seven different states over the course of his 26 years.
Living in a log cabin built by his father, the wild Alaskan setting instilled in Garrett an appreciation of nature, as well as for the value of a healthy mind and body. At an early age, he also inherited a respect for and love of the ocean, from his father who was a commercial fisherman, by profession. His interest in adventure and the outdoors was spurred by his father’s other pursuits of mountain climbing, diving, and competitive racing with the US Luge Team.
The full impact of music came knocking on Garrett’s door when he first met Barefoot Truth founder and front man, Will Evans, during his college sophomore year. Garrett explains, “All of my close friends in college, including Will, were musically talented. I picked up harmonica because I wanted to be included in the fun.” He continues, “I learned a lot from Will by jamming in his dorm room.”
As their friendship grew, so did their common interest in the outdoors and their commitment to environmental awareness. “We quickly discovered our similar passion for the outdoors when we surfed in Maine, Rhode Island, and New Zealand and also through many days of skiing in Vermont.”
Garrett quickly became a force to be reckoned with on the harmonica and was asked to play on a couple of tracks on Barefoot Truth’s “Club House Sessions.” From there, he jumped in fully as a band member and soon his signature harmonica bends became an integral part of the Barefoot Truth sound.
Garrett has begun to compose and sing his own songs, one of which “Rope” appears on the band’s newest, “Carry Us On.” In a short amount of time Garrett has developed into a critically acclaimed songwriter. His recent debut solo album called Drift East, shows Garrett’s strength as both a singer and harmonica player.
An avid practitioner of Yoga, Garrett sums up his experience as a member of the band this way, “Barefoot Truth is a group of “brothers” who are constantly expanding the boundaries of positivity through music. Barefoot Truth has been a grassroots project with four of my best friends. I am proud to say that the soul of this project is pure.”
Garrett lives a life that puts the emphasis on gathering experiences rather than things and he is guided daily by his favorite quote, “The more you know, the less you need.” (Yvon Chouinard)
Piano, keys, vocals
The product of an entertainment family, Wayno represents the fourth generation of musicians and performers in his lineage, and a distinguished lineage it is!
As Barefoot Truth’s keyboardist, Wayno adds a special dimension to the band’s music and limitless energy to their live performances. He grew accustomed to touring, at least on a local level, spending his youth playing trumpet and piano in his father’s Dixieland band and big band.
Although he was a good student, he would often get in trouble for taking bathroom breaks and sneaking into the auditorium to play the grand piano during his early school years.
Until joining Barefoot Truth in 2007, Wayno’s primary musical interests were jazz and show tunes. He has appeared in no less than 50 musical theater productions presented by the Ja’ Duke Performing Arts Center and training facility, owned and operated by his family in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.
Commenting on his musical upbringing, Wayno said, ” I never would have thought I would ever play in a rock band. I know very little about music, post 1940-1950. I have never really spent much time listening to rock music. I admire all types of music, whether it’s cheesy, bad, great, genuine, amazing or complex. I try to find a way to love it all, but I couldn’t name you a Pink Floyd song, or sing you a Bob Dylan song. And, I don’t know anything about the Rolling Stones, or Willie Nelson.”
Wayno pursued his love of jazz during his college years at Westfield State College, where he continued to develop his skills. He knew he would never get rich as a jazz musician because of its limited commercial appeal, but he had no idea what was in store when he first met classmate, Andy Wrba who played the bass as a member of the band Barefoot Truth. He recalls their first meeting noting, ” I met Andy Wrba my freshman year of college and he was very intimidating. I grew to respect him as musician incredibly.”
At the band’s invitation, Wayno was offered an opportunity to record on their release “Walk Softly” as a guest artist. That experience proved fateful for him and the band. It was clear to all that Wayno was the missing piece to their complex musical puzzle and he joined the band full time.
Commenting on his musical journey, Wayno said, “This band has given me the chance to put to use everything I have learned on the stage and in the classroom. I’m so proud to say that I love what I do and am very thankful to be given the chance to get up on stage and entertain our fans, as part of this musical force of nature known as Barefoot Truth.”
One last thing you should know about Wayno – he does a very convincing Chinese-American accent and has used it to entertain his band mates and keep them awake during late night drives on the road. He proudly admits, “I’ve prank called most of the bands friends and family with said accent.”