Sunday, November 23, 2014

Song Of The Week: 11/23/14

Song: "Wezeltown"

Artist: Tim Barry

Album: "40 Miler"

Year: 2012

Like so many of Tim Barry's songs, "Wezeltown" is about the lonely traveller and the places and people he meets along the way. Wezeltown Drive is located in the small town of Old Fort, North Carolina where the population exceeds just over 900 people. The town is known for it's beautiful, natural waterfalls and it's several festivals, including free music festivals plus several re-enactments of Revolutionary War engagements. It's the type of place that brings a smile to the lonely travellers face, a place of comfort, but he can't stay long. He's soon back on the road to continue his travels. Tim Barry is a folk punk solo artist from Richmond, Virginia. His musical roots date back to 1990, where he joined Richmond, Virginia hardcore punk band Avail. For 12 years as frontman of Avail, the band dropped six full length albums, two demo albums, four EP's and three live albums. Avail spent the early part of their career on Lookout! Records before going to Fat Wreck Chords for their last two releases. 2002's "Front Porch Stories" was the band's last official release and though they haven't performed together since 2008, they have never officially disbanded. In 1994/1995, Barry also played bass guitar for the short-lived punk folk band (Young) Pioneers. Perhaps this is where Barry caught the bug to perform acoustic, rootsy music. Barry began his solo career in 2004. Signing with Suburban Home Records, Barry's first solo release was "Laurel Street Demo 2005", released in 2006. This album would foreshadow where Barry wanted to go with his music, as shown with the acoustic "Idle Idylist". 2006 also saw Barry release "Rivanna Junction". This album featured the crowd favorite and sing-a-long "Avoiding Catatonic Surrender". Continuing with his acoustic folk punk style, Barry released "Manchester" in 2008, featuring the songs "This November" and "South Hill". 2010 saw the release of "28th & Stonewall", featuring crowd favorites like "Thing Of The Past" and "Walk 500 Miles". In 2012, Barry signed on with Chunksaah Records, the record company founded by the Bouncing Souls. His first release with Chunksaah was "40 Miler", featuring tracks like "Driver Pull", "40 Miler" and "Fine Foods Market". In 2014, "Raising Hell & Living Cheap: Live In Richmond" was released, a live album recorded in Barry's hometown. Currently, Barry's new album "Lost & Rootless" is set to be released on November 28, 2014. He also has already set up a string of west coast tour dates that will begin early in 2015. The new craze in the punk rock world has been for lead singers to record stripped down, acoustic, folksy type material. Whether it's Tim Barry, Hot Water Music's Chuck Ragan, Lagwagon's Joey Cape or No Use For A Name's Tony Sly, more and more punk frontmen are getting into the acoustic thing. Some do it better than others, but to me, the two that stand out above the rest are Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry. Barry, in particular, has a way of songwriting that brings you to the places he's describing, introduces you to the people he meets along the way and really makes you feel like you're riding shotgun as he travels around the country to places that you probably don't know or maybe even never heard of. It's American roots music, along the lines of early country and folk, but with an edge that can only come from a punk rock performer.

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