Tim Barry

Right now, Tim Barry is detoxing. Not from drugs or alcohol, but from
his own music. “When the record’s finally done, and the master is
approved, I erase every file that’s been sent to me and I throw out all
the CDs with all of the rough mixes. I get rid of everything,” says Barry.
And that’s exactly where he’s at, in the middle of cleanse from his own
work. But on September 8, he’ll sit down with his new record, High On
95 (Chunksaah Records), one last time. And like everyone else
listening to it that day, it’ll be for the first time. “I generally never listen
to the record again except one time on the day it comes out,” says
Barry. “That’s when I actually hear the record from the perspective of
the people who are into it.” And what those people will hear—along
with the artist himself—is a record that explores the human condition
in classic Tim Barry fashion.
“Slow Down” opens the record and sees Barry tearing at his guitar
strings while weaving a tale about alienation, shame, and getting the
hell out of Brooklyn. His sister Caitlin Hunt’s lonesome violin joins him
on his journey, as Barry’s burly voice lumbers forth, admitting faults
(“I’ve always been thirsty / I’ve always been a wreck”) but never
becoming defeated. It’s a song that sets up the themes that will be
touched on time and again throughout High On 95: Fear, loneliness,
pain, and isolation. But for all these anxieties, Barry never wallows.
Instead, he finds hope in the journey.
“If I’m talking about real life shit, just getting things off of my chest, if
they don’t have an element of hope, then there’s no use in writing it,”
says Barry. And for every moment that aches with a feeling that
borders on defeat, it’s flanked by Barry’s perseverance and
unbreakable work ethic. While there’s a song like “Running Never
Tamed Me,” which Barry says caused his two daughters to break
down crying the first time they heard it, there’s a song like “Riverbank,”
which carries a foot-stomping swagger that invites you into the
anthemic ruckus. Against a steady backbeat, vamped piano, and Neil
Young-esque, single-note solos, Barry becomes the ringleader of a
triumphant chorus, guiding his collaborators to the song’s apex.
“I become the conductor,” says Barry, explaining that his process of
leading his assembled studio band involves a whole lot of humming
what he hears in his head and some wild, impassioned gesticulating.
“All of the parts that are added to the recorded songs are my humming
between lyrics,” says Barry, noting that everyone else in his camp is a
“talented, pro musician” and that he trusts them to fill in the gaps—not
that he needs much help.
Like all of his albums, High On 95 was recorded by Lance Koehler at
Minimum Wage Studios in Richmond Virginia. And that’s because, by
now, Koehler knows exactly how to record Barry’s performances. “it’s
just one take,” says Barry, “Lance knows the more I do it, the worse
it’s gonna get. You lose something when you play it more and more.
So get it right.” And that’s exactly what Barry did. High On 95 carries
the raw, emotional catharsis that’s become synonymous with a Tim
Barry album. Every syllable exits his mouth with a fire propelling them,
the kind of passion that can’t be forced or faked. Not that there was
ever a reason to expect anything less.

A.W. (Allison Weiss)

Ever since the release of their debut album Was Right All Along in 2009, A.W.'s (Allison Weiss) world has been on fire. The album gained immediate notoriety with major media spotlighting A.W.'s use of the then brand new concept of crowdfunding. They went on to release the critically-acclaimed follow up Say What You Mean (2013), plus a handful of EPs throughout the years, including the EP, Remember When (2014). The New York Times calls A.W. "strong and impressively tart" while Paste Magazine declares their music "expertly displays the urgency and emotion that can really only be captured by a young artist bent on being earnest and open with her audience."

That air of relatability wafts throughout all the songs on New Love, A.W.'s latest album. It was inspired by Weiss’s recent move to Los Angeles and, wait for it... a new love. The change in geographic scenery can be heard in “Golden Coast,” which was co-written with fellow folk-rocker Jenny Owen Youngs, and tackles the trepidation that often comes with making a major life change that’s necessary but nerve wrecking nevertheless. Then there’s “Back To Me,” which is the kind of hopeful pop song with upbeat melodies but heartbreaking lyrics about the one who got away and, sadly, isn’t ever coming back. Most striking is the album's anthem and standout single, "Who We Are," a complicated and cognizant ode to equality and acceptance that's just begging for you to sing along.



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