Tim Barry…it’s like even his songs are sepia toned.
The Carhartt-wearing Virginia artist’s next installment of train hopping songs is 40 Miler. That title is “ironic” as it’s a term used by freight riders to describe fake hobos. So uh, here’s Tim Barry, the poser.
First off, respect this guy. Though he has been going solo since about 2004, he was the frontman for the punk band Avail, and his voice is still just as brute – brute enough to be a guest vocalist on the new album by metallers Municipal Waste (you read that correctly and it’s so fabulous; the song is called “Standards and Practices”).
Barry is now the dude who doesn’t always ask life’s questions but more sings about his day. Like 28th & Stonewall, 40 Miler has the hooks but sounds fresher this time around. There’s a little more positivity too.
Though folk and country aren’t the same genre (please, notify the Grammys), 40 Miler blends the two seamlessly without notice. Old Barry fans will dig the hand clapping in “Wezeltown,” the saddening “Driver Pull,” and the title track itself. Somewhere in the middle is “Adele and Hell,” a Western theme song complete with lyrics about guns and jail with female backup vocals. Then there is the country side like “Shed Song,” “Bankers Dilemma” and the closer “Amen.”
But here’s the thing: Barry calls himself a 40 Miler -a poser- but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Well, maybe the train hopping part is real but not as a musician. Barry just doesn’t give a damn and what quality is stronger than that? He writes songs for himself and in the end, it winds up being fun for us too. Take the song “Fine Foods Market” as an example. It’s a story about Avail to now. He’s a dude who once listened to speed metal who has never sold out; he’s just more himself now. Lyrically this could be one of the best songs written this year: “[They’re] selling PBR to hipsters with ironic mustaches/ …Once were punks now wear flannel.” Those guys are the sellouts, not Barry.
Nope, he doesn’t have a vacation home or a ton of money but the photos with him and his dog are genuine. They would make nicer photographs in sepia tone, just because something in our brains says, “That looks about right.” And I’d take that every day rather than half the crap sitting on shelves.