I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen 108 times. I once said, “I’d walk past a Springsteen concert to see Tim Barry.” Tim Barry is probably the most important songwriter currently working. If you don’t know, just see him.
I first saw Tim at Garfield Artworks. I knew none of his songs but went because The Judge (again) recommended it. He was clearly a bigger star than the small venue. Since then I’ve seen every solo show in Pittsburgh, one group show with Chuck Ragan and others, open for The Hold Steady at Mr. Smalls, one in Baltimore with Drag The River and one in Cleveland. Man he has delivered each time.
Barry’s songs range from personal, historical, protest, and also very current ones.
As the father or a United States Army soldier who did his training in Fort Benning (mentioned in the song), his song South Hill holds special meaning for me.
Barry says in one song, ” I hate republicans, I hate democrats, I hate liberals too. I think pacifists are weak, and violence is wrong
But I go limp for police and I fight when it’s called for.” That lyric is over thirteen years old so I don’t know and would actually doubt if it’s how he feels now, but it accurately sums up the dichotomy of Barry’s songs. Some times Barry reminds me of the line from The Wild Ones, “Mildred: Hey, Johnny, what are you rebelling against?Johnny: What’ve you got?”
Barry started with Richmond based punk band Avail from 1988 to 2008. He started his solo career in 2004 which is the year the aformentioned Garfield Artworks show took place. While in theory Barry is folk or Americana, he plays it like a punk rocker.
Ultimately the reason why I relate so much to Barry is his life view and philosophy.
“I’d rather stay broke than play fake-ass shows,
Move from your heart, sing from your soul,
If you can’t sing, then dance instead.”
Show is This Friday at Cativo. it’s not sold out yet but will be soon. I hope to see you there.