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Tim Barry


Richmond, VA

Photo cred: Katie Hovland

Tim Barry has spent the better part of a quarter century playing in small, dark, dank rooms (as well as some much larger ones), first as a punk rock mainstay in the band Avail, then shifting gears in 2004 to explore the sort of roots music that surrounded him throughout his upbringing—a sound that he modestly claims is stolen directly from legends like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. “Now I understand better than I ever have the music that has influenced me. I grew up with a father who listened to classical music and a mother who listened to country and folk,” he recalls. His parents also played in a progressive church’s band during mass, featuring banjos, acoustic guitars, and harmonies that even the Slayer- and Black Flag-loving teenage Barry could appreciate. “It’s like comfort food—not the message they were singing, but the melodies and three chords that stuck with me. That’s what I like sitting with a guitar and fiddling with.”

His childhood roots may have directed him down the musical path he now walks, but his punk rock roots ensured that in this iteration of his career, he could effectively oversee all aspects of his career single-handedly. “I grew up in a DIY punk community, doing what I wanted, why I wanted; learning how to set up tours, how to participate in actions, how to live life outside a power structure, how to nickel and dime, and get by without a brutal routine that beats you down,” he says. “I can go out on the road as my own boss, bring my friends, pay them fairly, do shows that are healthy and ethical and bring people together and do it as long as I want to. I’m thankful every day for the way I was brought up and the opportunities and ethics that brought to me.”

 

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