Tim Barry - 28th & Stonewall
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Record Label: Suburban Home Records
The sheer idea of a vocalist going solo seems risky enough to garner attention, no matter who it is. Sure, the vocalists tend to attract all the attention from fans, however, they aren't always as suitable up on stage alone. It doesn't always work, but when it does? Fucking magic. Better known as the husky voice behind 90's punk band Avail, Tim Barry is up to his third full-length in five years (his first release in 2005 was technically a demo), and frankly, he's ready to be known simply as Tim Barry. 28th & Stonewall is Barry's first entirely cohesive output, harnessed by an affectionately raw perseverance and a reckless candor, peaking at heights of sincerity many solo records lack due to redundant watermarks.
Accompanied by his No BS Brass Band, Tim Barry is a blue collar man who isn't afraid to celebrate the warm side of his homestate of Virginia, or chastize its not-so-lovely past. On the album's best song, "Prosser's Gabriel," Barry sings of the uprising of a Virginia slave during the Civil War. "You're a coward if you own men for profit and greed. You're the coward of all and for all you must bleed." Heavy stuff for a raucous five-minute scorcher, built on controversial history, but it's what separates Barry from the pack of bar-room grazers and Guthrie-inspired soloists. Barry and his band play with the mood and aren't afraid of being touchy. "Moving On Blue" is a steady, organ-backed confession about lost love and "With Ease I Leave" is a heartbreaking open-door surrender, five minutes of pouring out one's heart in lieu of losing what you lvoed most and facing your own trials & trbulations. "I need you more than you need me, in too many ways, and I can't stand dependence, so I can't stay."
There are plenty of bluesy, country-driven, folksy little sing-alongs here, too. It's not all heavy heartbreak and history, you know. "Will Travel" and "Bus Driver" are loads of fun to clap along with, and "Things of the Past" starts things off with a burst of blues-soaked enthusiasm. Unlike the rather dreary Manchester, Barry wants to share his all-world view with you, open up his thoughts and drench them onto a musical canvas he feels is worth sharing. Only this time, there's more cause for celebration, even when Barry displays heart on sleeve like a fading tattoo. For his latest album, he contains the mood inside a perfect atmosphere and never lulls or stalls. Each song contributes an individual thought, mood and reason -- and Barry's inspiration of old-school pioneers like Dylan and Guthrie is evident. The good thing is, he's never ripping them off. He has his own unique voice and after one demo & three albums... he's finally found good use for it.
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