Tim Barry - 40 Miler (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Tim Barry

40 Miler (2012)


Tim Barry used to be the vocalist for beloved hardcore outfit Avail, and I think that's officially become a side-note. Chances are, more kids today know Barry for his solo material than for his prior work. Most of those kids never saw Avail, and have probably only listened to them while waiting for a band to come onstage at a show. I promise that's all I'll say about Avail.

The reasoning behind my intro is because with his fourth full-length, 40 Miler, Barry has long since solidified his solo career as more than just a "side project." 40 Miler is by far his most uptempo record, influenced heavily by bluegrass and rebellious country stylings of greats like Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. Hailing from Barry's home city of Richmond, Va. I can appreciate much of the material in his music maybe a little more than other listeners. He has a talent for painting a picture of the scene he's singing about; whether it's fictitious like the track "Adele and Hell," where Barry laments over his gal selling his gun to bail him out of jail--or an oh-so-accurate depiction of Richmond's favorite independent grocer in the song "Fine Foods Market." It's this song where Barry's songwriting talents truly shine with biting sarcasm of subject material that would normally be as easy as fish in a barrel. Instead, he makes his point with casual observations "...selling PBR to hipsters with ironic mustaches, who most definitely once were punks, and now wear flannel, and scream over bar chords with acoustic guitars. "

In "Amen," Barry recalls some of the pitfalls of life on the road, but with a "brush yourself off and get back up" mentality. It's just another example of his natural calling as a storyteller. Same can be said of "Banker's Dilemma," where he assumes the roll that many face in today's economic state. Yet Barry puts his own spin on the scenario, and instead of the "hate the system, fight the man" mentality that's become oh so prominent, he opts to emphasize on living in moment and laughing at a bad situation sing about losing a job and no longer paying the mortgage: "...and in three months they'll foreclose, so for three months, and for free, I'll be staying."

A Tim Barry record is something I've come to truly look forward to, as you never quite know what you'll get. This time around, he's taken the approach of recording a record that will not only translate incredibly to a live setting, but also has truly captured his rough-around-the-collar yet sentimental wit. Highly recommended.