Album Review: Tim Barry – Lost & Rootless

Tim Barry - Lost & RootlessIt’s no lie, Tim Barry just dropped one of my favorite albums of 2014.

After hearing it just one time through, I had no choice but to make an immediate edit to my best of 2014 post.  I was blown away.

Lost & Rootless, Barry’s fifth studio release as a solo artist, is the best thing I’ve heard from him to date.

The Richmond, VA folk crooner is one of the most talented music writers I consider myself a fan of and he just further proved that to me with his latest effort.  To say he is on top of his game is a complete understatement.

Barry, on his website, said the sound to his latest release could be described as “Wooden.”  He stated “that’s the feel that I was going for when I picked the songs. There’s violin, voice, a wooden resonator guitar…there’s a very subtle electric bass on one track, but otherwise I wanted to do a wooden record.”

“Wooden” is the perfect description when you think about it.

Hiding out in a backyard shed with his sister and pal Josh Small, Barry recorded Lost & Rootless with no time frame  and no worries at all. The result is a tireless release that I have listened to over and over and found myself enjoying more so than the last listen.

One thing I adore about Barry is his storytelling abilities.  In Lost & Rootless, Barry doesn’t hold back with his tales that do not necessary have a theme to them but certainly reach back to other stores of past albums.  There is no concept to be heard and to be honest, I think Barry and crew just recorded whatever was on their mind.

Starting the album off was “No News From North”.  This was actually taken from Barry’s Laurel Street Demos, but re-recorded just as he has done with other selections. I loved the rendition of this song from its original. It sounded so much more homely and emotional.

“Poppa’s Porch” had me thinking of Barry on his front porch with his wife and kids singing to them on a weekend morning. This song told a story about the neighborhood that surrounds said porch full of fisticuffs and shenanigans. This was overall such a friendly track to listen to. It was like Cheers, but different.

“All My Friends” painted such a beautiful picture of who Barry surrounds himself with. This was a very old-timey sounding story about people who took to the streets for entertainment and communication.

I can honestly say I know exactly what “Breathe Slow Let ‘Em Pass” was all about. My rebel youth recalled those days when the law passed me by and I turned into stone until they were far away only to release a tightly held in breath. This track was amazing based on the idea of it.

The cover of “Clay Pigeons” by the late and great Blaze Foley was just amazing to listen to. Having just learned about the Austin musician myself, I can understand why Barry chose to record his own version of the song.

The somber story told in “Solid Gone” reflected hard times with family and finances and the outlawed methods to make things manageable resulting in further calamity. I can not say I have heard a song quite like this before and found myself captivated throughout it. This is one track I think everyone needs to check out on this album.

“Lela Days” was clearly written for Barry’s daughter. I have the feeling she loves it when he sings this song to her. It is a fun folky jam with real life expectations hidden within.

I can not tell you the number of times that I thought to myself how much I enjoy Tim Barry’s music.  This is coming from a aging punk rocker who has matured just a bit but still has a lot of growing up to do.  It’s nice to see that I still get excited about things.

By now, it shouldn’t matter that Tim Barry once was in Avail.  Even though his former punk act will always be one of my favorites, it is perfectly clear why Barry has moved on and started something he can call his own.

It’s no wonder he has no plans of ever getting Avail back together, his new direction just makes so much sense and does not seem to be going off track.  He has been going strong for 10 years and I hope to hell he has no intention of slowing down.

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