Spanning years and countries

Illinois-based Jared Bartman to perform at The Cabin



Story by Katie Bast, News Editor

When asked  how to describe his genre, Jared Bartman, a singer/songwriter from Peoria, Ill. listed a variety of categories from folk to Eastern European to 1920’s jazz to Latin to 50’s women’s vocal groups. Bartman said these unrelated themes all come together.

“These different genres are all filtered through my songwriting,” Bartman said.

All of Bartman’s genres will be on display Friday and Saturday at The Cabin.

The University Activities Commission hosts Cabin shows. UAC co-chair Becca Lawrence said she listened to Bartman’s music last fall as she and her co-chair set about picking the featured performers for this year.

Lawrence said there are about 15 people in three categories: female, male and band. The Cabin Committee votes and the top person or group in each category becomes a featured performer.

“We made him a featured performer because we felt he stood out from other performers,” Lawrence said.

A simpler term for Bartman’s music is indie, he said, since it’s a blanket term. He credits eclectic variety with trying to make different-sounding records.

“What I’m feeling on a record-to-record basis, trying to make something that doesn’t sound like the previous record and is better than the previous record,” Bartman said.

He said his shows at The Cabin will be unique because he will be playing with just a drummer, as opposed to a full band set-up. He said he will be playing guitar, accordion and bass on organ foot pedals in addition to vocals.

“(It’ll be) stripped down, more like rock band, minimal versions,” Bartman said. “I’ll be doing some stuff solo, trying out new material. In a way, it’s a departure from other stuff I’ve done in the past, which is exciting.”

Steve Plock, who will accompany Bartman on drums, said the set up creates a looser feel because there’s more of a give-and-take and he won’t have to worry if the rest of the band is following along.

“He’s the songwriter and he’s the one driving the show and even though I’m the drummer which is typically the driving force, it’s easy for me to just play to him,” Plock said. “There is much more open communication between two people playing than four or six.”

Bartman said his music is more lyrically motivated and he puts a lot into the arrangements so audiences should be prepared for a more thoughtful show.

“I would go for more of an attentive, introspective, listening crowd than playing at a bar for a party crowd,” Bartman said.

Bartman said he enjoys the age group that is usually present at college shows because he said he considers college campuses to be more progressive environments.

“It’s an age group that is more open to a lot of different styles of music, kind of open in general,” Bartman said. “Cool things are always happening on college campuses. It’s good to be among that college town vibe.”

Plock said the energy at college shows is different because he thinks they’re more eager to hear music.

“College kids, I always get the impression, are just excited to be out and being someone who’s come from a different city to play music on their campus, there’s a more tangible excitement,” Plock said.

While Bartman said it’s nice being able to perform on tour, he said his real passion is making records.

“It’s really sort of an obsession,” Bartman said. “The reward at the end of the arduous process of writing songs and recording material is having the final product and having gone to great pains to get it how you want it to be and enjoying that. Just enjoying being able to go out and sort of eek out a living, emphasis on sort of, making my own music that I’ve written is really rewarding for me.”

Despite it being rewarding, Bartman said there are always challenges. Since he’s a solo artist, he said there are additional challenges because there are fewer people for his ideas to filter through.

“It’s really up to me as a solo artist to make it the way I want it to be,” Bartman said. “Ultimately it is the artist’s duty to fulfill the vision they have and make sure it’s done right and say when it’s wrong and re-do it until it’s right. … Just really having the perseverance to make it happen is challenging.”

Plock said the set for The Cabin shows is really diverse.

“I think we’re just going to try to make it a dynamic show. … I’m looking forward to trying to make each song a little bit different and sort of surprise people every now and then,” Plock said. “Jared’s an amazing songwriter and probably even more amazing singer, so at the very least you’ll be entranced by his voice and music.”