Carolina's RV

Tim Barry

Chunksaah Records, 2022

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


In 1993 I wandered into a dirty, dark basement in St. Paul, Minnesota and watched a punk rock outfit from Richmond, Virginia called Avail play. Even though there only about 40 people watching, the band played with an enthusiasm and appreciation that made it seem like they were at Madison Square Garden. It was so intense, I think a member or two may have actually drawn blood during the set.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Tim Barry was, and still is, (on a much more occasional basis) the singer for Avail, who were championed as heroes of the punk scene through much of the ’90s. In the mid 2000’s, Barry unplugged his guitar and ventured into areas of folk music, and his endless touring and sincere songs about raising a family, hopping trains, and looking back have struck a chord with aging punks all over the globe.

A companion EP to Barry’s most recent album Spring Hill, this release features four songs of his heartfelt and gritty ways. The title track opens with Barry’s cozy acoustic guitar and vivid storytelling in an Americana, roots, and country hybrid. “Wreck Of Old ’97”, written by Henry Whitter and popularized by Johnny Cash, follows, and certainly aligns with Barry’s interest in trains with a very expressive delivery.

The back half of the listen presents the more straightforward folk of “Clem’s Court Date,” which addresses domestic violence and is quite pretty despite the very tragic wordplay. The traditional “Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet?” takes inspiration from Woody Guthrie’s 1945 interpretation, and recruits Lela Jane Barry (Tim’s young daughter) for the gospel-and-bluegrass spirited finish.

Other players on the record include Josh Small (resonator guitar, banjo), Josh Bearman (mandolin) and Lance Koehler (vocals), who all contribute immense talent to these organic and timeless tracks that will appeal very much to fans of Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner or Cory Branan.

Rating: B+

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