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Interestingly enough, Tim Barry’s sixth record ‘Lost& Rootless’ is refreshing, and this is strange because there is absolutely nothing new or different about what he is doing. He is still offering up punk tinged folk songs that tell stories of romance and injustice, he is still letting the vocal lines lead the way with strong melodies while an acoustic guitar strums along behind them with the small additions of stings and various other instrumentation for colour, and he is still tugging at the heart strings.
The reason why it is refreshing however is because we rarely get to hear the singer-songwriter stripped back to such a simple and relaxed fashion as this anymore, from heart to ears with little in between.
Barry uses harmonies as a weapon on the slow swaying anthem The James, a sad, reflective song about the songwriter’s hometown that seems like it would have been a strong closing track, but is instead used right at the beginning of the record. Things then move to something quite uncharacteristic for Barry, a boppy up-tempo song, Poppa’s Porch, complete with hand claps and a dancing guitar line that may as well be coated in sugar.
As the record progresses it is clear that this is one of Barry’s softest and most sombre affairs, the guitar is barely present in All My Friends, lifted slightly by a soft harmonica as the stories are told with the upmost focus.
The album’s title track reveals it to be one of the most positive moments of the record despite its soft beginnings, whilst Solid Gone is possibly the most honest and revealing that Barry has ever been, essentially recounting his life story and experiences. With six solo albums under his, plus everything he did with his band Avail, it makes sense that a moment of reflection would finally come, this album is essentially an ode to his own journey.
The record ends with Mayfly, which almost reads as a summation of the experiences and stories that have been told before it, making it a fitting ending whilst also explaining why The James came so early.
Tim Barry may just be winding down in his old age or something but this is definitely his most relaxed record to date. That does nothing to dim the quality however as his stark and honest storytelling is truly captivating.
1. No News from North
2. The James
3. Poppa’s Porch
4. Older and Poorer
5. All My Friends
6. Breathe Slow, Let ’em Pass
7. Clay Pigeons
8. Lost & Rootless
9. Knowing Such things
10. Solid Gone
11. Lela Days
12. I’m Only Passing Through