You may have heard of this TIM BARRY guy. Since 1991 Barry has fronted Virginia’s AVAIL, serving as the
American band’s singer, lyricist, and co-songwriter.
Now, TIM BARRY´s musical career is entering a new phase. TIM BARRY’s first solo disc, the Laurel Street Demo 2005, a collection of eight acoustic guitar-driven
songs recorded DIY-style in a home studio a couple of blocks from his house.
Once again, TIM BARRY is forging his own path, trading AVAIL’s distorted guitars and concussive drumming
for a low-fi blend of folk, old school country, and roots rock. Explaining the genesis of Laurel Street Demo,
TIM BARRY says, “As long as I’ve played in AVAIL, I’ve written songs that can’t be turned into AVAIL songs.
I’ve always had a backlog of songs.” Devoid of amplified powerchords or high-dollar studio gloss, the tunes
are pretty, raw, moody, and, at times, painfully intimate.
As one reviewer for punknews.org site says, the disc “sounds like it could come from a dude on his porch
with a couple beers and his dog.” TIM BARRY, whose crisp voice carries the record, did in fact write many of the songs while sitting, guitar in
hand, on his front porch, while others were initially composed on piano. The tunes were recorded in the span
of three days with a couple of friends, Josh Small, who threw down on the dobro, and Lance Koehler, who
played drums on one track and manned the mixing board. In addition to singing, TIM BARRY played guitar,
piano, harmonica, organ, bass and drums.
Like Woody Guthrie, TIM BARRY says he simply writes about what he knows, and what he knows is the
American south, in particular, his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. As a solo songwriter TIM BARRY’s becoming more of a storyteller, describing the lives and deaths
of people on the margins. The characters in TIM BARRY’s songs are, for the most part, beset by bad luck.
They’re ex-con drifters dwelling in vans; working folks struggling to live from paycheck to paycheck; hobos
riding the rails with no particular destination in mind; people asking for answers in the wake of tragedy.
In the spirit of Bruce Springsteen, TIM BARRY relates their tales without whitewashing their flaws or
descending into rhetoric -- and that, arguably, is Laurel Street’s greatest triumph.