20 Things You Didn’t Know About … The Barefoot Movement

20 Things You Didn’t Know About… is a recurring feature here at Bluegrass Today where noted Nashville publicist Claire Ratliff of Laughing Penguin Publicity compiles interesting tidbits about bluegrass artists you know and love. We continue today with The Barefoot Movement.

Heralded by CMT Edge as “one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene,” the Nashville-based group The Barefoot Movement is as down to earth as their intention for members of their audience: sit back, relax, take your shoes off, and stay a while. This charming, acoustic band takes listeners back to a simpler place and time. Their music is heartfelt, energetic, and down home with a repertoire that ranges from emotional ballads to rip-roaring barn-burners. With two full length albums, an EP of traditional music, several cross-country tours, and appearances at some of the top bluegrass festivals in the United States already under their belt, the possibilities for this act are endless. The group has enjoyed almost non-stop touring including a trip to Burkina Faso, Africa where they were guests of the American Embassy. In 2014, the group received an IBMA Momentum Award, honoring the music and business acumen of a band in the early stage of its career.

The Barefoot Movement is comprised of singer-songwriter and fiddler Noah Wall; mandolinist Tommy Norris; guitarist and singer Alex Conerly; and Katie Blomarz on upright bass. Together, they’ve created “the Barefoot sound” … lush harmonies, thoughtful instrumentation, and memorable melodies.

  • The Barefoot Movement’s first tour vehicle was a Chevy van that had previously been a medical transportation vehicle for Duke Hospital. It was affectionately named the White Tiger…or El Tigre Blanco.
  • Tommy was voted “Most Likely to Go Wild in College!” (He did grow a beard…)
  • Noah was voted “Most Likely To Be Famous!”
  • Katie once played a Christmas special with Clay Aiken
  • Alex once went on a blind date dressed as a chicken.
  • Once on the road, we were sideswiped by a car going the wrong way on the interstate. No one was harmed, but when we got out to inspect the damage, we noticed the other car’s antenna was coiled around our side view mirror. We still have that antenna as a reminder to be careful out there.
  • Tommy LOVES video game music…and UNC Basketball.
  • Noah LOVES Halloween and heavy metal music!
  • Katie refers to a carbonated, sweet beverage as “pop.”
  • Alex’s favorite musician is his wife.
  • We have two different versions of the game “Catch Phrase” in our van – a regular one and a Star Wars one that is shaped like a millennium falcon! Helps pass the time….
  • People always tell Tommy that he looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.
  • Noah has a scrapbook with ticket stubs to every movie or concert she has attended since 1999. The first one is from a Limp Bizkit concert!
  • Alex’s favorite food is whatever is in front of him.
  • Katie Blomarz is the only documented person named “Katie Blomarz” in the world. We’ve checked.
  • Alex loses his keys every few minutes.
  • Tommy was hit in the head by a golf club in the 6th grade and has a small dent in his skull!
  • Katie’s first best friend was a golden retriever named Murphy.
  • Growing up, Noah was a community theater nut. Favorite roles – Rizzo in Grease, Jo March in Little Women, and Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.
  • We have played in 46 states, Canada, and Africa. (Stateside, we’re just missing Hawaii, North Dakota, Nevada, and Louisiana!)

Learn more about Barefoot Movement online.

You can send suggestions to Claire for other artists you’d like to see profiled on 20 Things by email.

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About the Author

Claire Ratliff

Claire Ratliff is the President and Senior Publicist with Laughing Penguin Publicity. Her company provides publicity and marketing/promotional services including media relations, graphic design, photography, and copy writing. They work with a variety of bluegrass and country artists in Nashville.

  • Mitchell Reynolds

    Another terrific bunch of talented musicians, university schooled. Also a nice group of folks. Also, Tommy is another in a long line of great mandolinists from North Carolina. How bout them Heels? Great to see y’all at Graves Mountain in June!