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Music Review: Tim Barry – Manchester

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What do you do when you wake up one day and find yourself a little older, a little wiser, and still broke, even after you spend most of your life fronting a punk rock band?  Chances are, if you are like Tim Barry, you keep doing what you do when you can just so you can get by and love every minute of it.  The Avail front man recently has released his third solo project titled Manchester again on Suburban Home Records and I must say it is outstanding.

Tim Barry rubs off more as a folk singer on Manchester, even though he is mostly known for being part of one of the more important punk rock acts from the 1990s.  Still touring with Avail but not as a fulltime gig, Tim Barry also performs on his own with family members and close friends.  I still have yet to witness a live show and after listening to Manchester I really hope he comes to my neighborhood again.  

Currently residing in Richmond, Virginia, the carefree musician has his day job, loves his beer, and continues his passion with music.  With help from friends and family Tim Barry has recorded a personal album that displays his thoughts as well as encourages you to think for yourself. 

Not knowing Tim Barry had a previous solo album this was the first time I heard him minus Avail and I had no idea what to expect.  Opening track “Texas Cops” immediately perked my ears with a more personal track about the law, not missing home, and admitting that having a “bad time is better than no time any day”.   This track really reminded me of Hank III with the tough lyrics and fun country twang.

“On And On” is not as fast paced as the first track, but more a slowed down folk hymn.  I really could feel the emotion in this track.  The backing music was just amazing as well complimenting Tim Barry’s gruff voice.  “South Hill” was one of the few songs that I have heard where I actually got angry while listening.  The track tells the tale of a young soldier thinking he is fighting the good fight, only to return home  not knowing right from wrong.  I seriously was angry with the outcome of this story turned song and it was not because Tim Barry sung his beliefs, he left that up to me.  

The cover of Avail’s “This November” was just awesome and sounded just as good slowed down a tad with the same message, take a breath and deal.  “Sagagity Gone” was fun jam about not caring what one more drink will do to you. 

The album has its ups and downs midway through but Tim Barry really keeps up with his personal lyricism on all.  In “Tile Work” Time Barry declares “consider where I been” possibly letting everyone know why he is the way he is.  Slow jam “222” was very sad, yet passionate about not feeling alone, and was one of my preferred tracks on the disc. 

For a guy who has been in the punk rock scene for years, it is great to see him continue even if it is a tad slowed down.  Where I am a fan of Avail, I can say I am even a bigger fan of Tim Barry’s solo material. It strikes me stronger with his approach at life and personal battles. 

With so many artists recording material on their own, some may say that this is a trend.  For Tim Barry that is not the case at all as you can almost hear in each song that he is doing it for the sake of recording music, something you can tell he truly loves.  His mix of punk and folk throughout really is appealing and begs to be played over and over again.  The CD is genuine, honest, and a must have for any aging punker out there who is finally coming to terms with themselves that maybe it’s time to slow things down a little.

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