This is a new song Tim played at the Suburban Home garage sale while I was up in Denver that really stuck with me. When I saw the quality of this recording of it knew I wanted to share it. It is based on the story of the slave blacksmith, Gabriel Prosser, who led a large slave rebellion in the Richmond, Virginia area in the summer of 1800. You can read about on wikipedia.
This is a neat musical scene we run in. It’s a scene where even the biggest and most popular artists can be found sitting at the bar before they go on stage. There are few barriers and less ego between you and the people making the music you love. As a result, should you choose, you can build these miniature friendships with the bands. Don’t get me wrong, when I call them “miniature friendships” I don’t mean that as a slight, what I mean is that they’re not like regular friendships. They’re based around small conversations a couple of times a year that are eventually jettisoned by the electronic conversations that brought us together. That said, within the scene they’re still genuine and everyone still remembers each other’s names when they’re in the same town and knows bits and pieces of one another’s personal lives. That’s the real appeal of these little festivals I go to. Sure, you’re gonna see a lot of awesome music, but at the same time you’re gonna get to hang out with a lot of friends for the weekend to catch up, drink together and bullshit about typical crap like sports. The result is the musical version of a family reunion, which explains why people from as far away as Florida, New Jersey & California would descend upon Denver, Colorado for two nights of music.
I arrived early Friday afternoon, and after navigating the airport/super shuttle maze to the hotel I elected to take a small nap in an effort to offset the time difference. The lineup for Friday night was Look Mexico, In the Red, Jr. Juggernaut, Josh Small, Austin Lucas, Jon Snodgrass and Joey Cape. I made a point to get to the show early enough not to miss anything since that’s what I came for and, really, after cooking dinner (Yes! My hotel room had a stove…more drinking money!) what the hell else was I gonna do? I wasn’t even at 3 Kings for 10 minutes before finally getting to meet Virgil (Suburban Home owner) in person. The guy is as genuine and nice in person as he is on the internet and managed to hang out with folks all weekend, while also making sure everything kept moving along smoothly. Meeting him made me even happier about the praise we pile on his label and I take back that apology I made about the amount of coverage we’ve been giving SH last week. I’m not sorry and you can expect more. Before the first notes of the weekend were played I also ran into one of my favorite people in music, Shane Sweeney of Two Cow Garage. Hugs and small talk were exchanged and the the show began.
Most of the early bands Friday were bands I wasn’t terribly familiar with. Look Mexico was pretty enjoyable while In The Red was really, really heavy. Jr. Juggernaut was entertaining enough and their singer sort of looks like Seth Rogen. However, it was Josh Small who provided me the first wow moment of the weekend. Josh is small in demeanor but has a powerful presence on stage. Later in the night I was talking to him and I said he was like a tenor version of William Elliott Whitmore. He really appreciated that comparison, so I thought I’d share it with y’all. I really have no idea why I’ve ignored him all this time. I’ve heard his name but never bothered to check out his music. If you’re in that same boat, now is the time to stop. Trust me. After Josh the night just went nuts. The elevation (or the fact that I cooked and ate a huge dinner) was allowing me to drink a ridiculous amount of whiskey without really feeling it as Austin Lucas took the stage. About halfway through Austin’s set Two Cow joined him on stage to perform a mini-set of Austin’s songs, Two Cow style. Holy. Fucking. Shit. It was the muscle of Two Cow meshed with the grace of Austin, and it was completely ridiculous. I’m saying it now. I want to see a Suburban Home Under The Influence release of an Austin-fronted Two Cow so the rest of world can experience it. This whole ‘Two Cow killed it’ attitude will be a running theme. Outside of Tim Barry, they were the stars of this particular weekend. Jon Snodgrass had the arduous task of following the AustinTwoCow amalgam and he did it with the grace and professionalism that has come to define Jon. He came up and started running through crowd favorites like a pimp serves up hoes. What’s that? Wanna hear “Me & Joe”? “Me and Joe went out to California…..” If you were there you know what I’m talking about, and if you weren’t then you need to start getting out to more Jon Snodgrass/Drag The River shows. Not to be outdone by Austin, Jon also brought the Two Cow boys up to finish up his set, and watching that happen reminded me of how much I miss Drag The River proper. After Jon’s set I had to go. The East coast/Midwest time difference + an obscene amount of whiskey had won the battle and I shared a cab back to the hotel and called it a night over some reheated dinner.
Saturday got started early ’cause the Suburban Home garage sale started at noon and promised some of the SH roster playing in an intimate acoustic environment. That sentence should really clue you in to the level of sheer awesomeness that occurred on an otherwise dreary Saturday afternoon. I’m not gonna go into too much detail about the show at SH’s office, ’cause I think some things are best left for the people that were there, and even if I wanted to tell you about it I don’t have the grace with words that would be required to relay how it went down. I was expecting (and I think the original plan was) minisets by some of the musicians in attendance. What happened, however, was so much more organic and spontaneous, as Josh Small, Tim Barry, Devon from The Takers, Micah and Shane from Two Cow, Austin Lucas, and Andy Thomas (Suburban Home employee) passed around a single guitar, playing songs and telling stories for a couple of hours. Honestly, Saturday afternoon alone easily made the trip worth the money. After the music I headed back to the hotel to watch some NCAA football, cook some dinner and grab a nap before Saturday night (the main reason I came up to Denver) kicked off.
Saturday night’s line up was The Takers, The Revenge, Mike Hale, Ninja Gun, Chad Price, Two Cow Garage and Tim Barry. Since The Takers are one of the bright spots of Florida music, I had zero intention of missing their set, so I arrived at 3 Kings nice and early. Now I gotta admit, for the first couple of hours of Saturday night I was a little off my game. I’d gotten drunk in the afternoon only to go back to the hotel and take a short nap. If you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t you will once you turn 21. I am happy to say that The Takers did Florida proud, while once again proving to me that they’re the best thing in Gainesville at the moment. I’m going to be honest, I used the bulk of The Revenge (who, IMO are horrible), Mike Hale and Ninja Gun’s sets to try and get my groove back (drink more whiskey), watch the OU/USC game and bullshit with various folks, so I don’t have too much to say about them. By the time Chad took the stage, though, I was front and center (albeit a little wobbly). Chad’s set included some tracks from his upcoming album, as well as a few crowd favorites. Chad was followed by the emerging juggernaut that is Two Cow Garage. In the middle of their set I sent the following to Facebook: “Two Cow Garage is making America wish they were in Denver right now.” Now I know that’s not true, but that’s only because most of America is lazy as fuck and has no idea who Two Cow is. As a side note, when I started ninebullets the Drive-By Truckers were my hands-down favorite band on earth. Over the years Lucero has managed to wrestle that belt away from DBT. Nowadays, Lucero has one serious contender for the crown in Two Cow. Two Cow put on a typically blistering show that may have even surprised some of their own faithful.
Next up was Tim Barry. The fact that I am staring a new paragraph for Tim’s set is important. It’s the best literary equivalent I can think of to show Tim’s set the same amount of reverence the crowd and the weekend’s bands showed him. I do a lot of shows every year. A lot. Probably five (or more) for every show you see. I’m not saying this to brag, I am saying this to convey the significance of what I’m about to talk about. Not since I saw Konrad Wert (Possessed By Paul James) freeze an entire field in their tracks have I seen the reverence to an artist that I saw on Saturday night when Tim Barry played. Touring bands see a lot of people play and usually they’re more than happy to BS and converse during a set, but as Tim played I surveyed the crowd. Every band present was crowded stage right or at the door to the back. Every fan/attendant was pushed as close to the stage as they could get with a drink held forward as they screamed every word of every song. Almost every person in the bar stopped and watched Tim and he delivered in spades (as if anything else would be possible). Tim probably won’t ever experience any form of commercial success and time will most likely cover all of his material, but I imagine he is okay with that. Tim’s music is a lot like him. It’s here, it’s now and there ain’t an ounce of fake, simile or metaphor about it. And when you witness that you have to stop and appreciate it, much like all of Three Kings did that night. Tim could easily become the face of this genre if he wanted to, but the simple fact is that it ain’t that important to him and you gotta love that.
That was it. I woke up and left, still drunk, on Sunday morning, leaving another awesome weekend in another state behind me while wondering how the Buccaneers might do that afternoon back home (they got bitch slapped). I’m poorer in pocket but richer in experience and (albeit miniature) friends, and that’s what life’s about. I love everyone (especially the travelers) I met this weekend. We’re kindred spirits and good people and hopefully, one day, we’ll hear every band we love on FM Radio. Till then, we’ll bump into one another at various nondescript weekends/festivals around this country and drink, reminisce and catch up, perfectly content in our own anonymity.
See y’all next year.
The plan was to take a bunch of photos but as is the norm I watched more and photoed less. The pictures I did take can be seen here and if you watch Jana Miller’s site I imagine you’ll see a lot more posted there in the coming days/weeks.
Stepping out of the legendary punk band Avail and into bare feet and the occasional tour bus Tim Barry has carved his name in the hearts of alt country fans everywhere. From the opening strains of Laurel Street Demos’ Idle Idylist to his presence on the Revival Tour, he is a powerhouse. His songs evoke the kind of emotion that Southerners grasp on a level not available to the rest of the world. From train songs to heartbreaks Tim covers the range. His influences range from punk to vintage country and his songwriting shows it. While I refer to his music as alt country it really transcends the genre. There is an honesty to this music that is rare in any genre. You can listen to a few of these songs and say “Mr. Barry your punk is showing” and not be off the mark and still on others you can hear the haunting melodies of the country greats. I don’t think any music fan won’t find something to like in Tim’s catalog.
I have missed him the last couple of times he has been through Houston and it is much to my dismay. I don’t have a single cool story to tell about this man. In fact I am pretty much a new fan. I had heard his name floating around amongst my musical peers but I had never listened to his solo music. I had been an Avail fan for a long while but for some reason I had skipped Tim’s solo career. Last year I got a copy of the Revival Tour’s stop in Denver and Dog Bumped was the first time I had ever heard Tim Barry. Since then I have procured all of his released music and it’s been in heavy rotation since I first bought Laurel Street Demos last year. Much like most of the other intros I have put up Tim is a Suburban Home Records Artist and that’s, at least around these parts, a mark in his favor. While his solo catalog is small compared to bands like Drag The River there is so much ground covered in the few LPs he has released that it never ceases to amaze. Choosing these tracks was no easy task and I did sit and ponder which tracks to include. I hope that I have done Mr. Barry justice in my choices.
(I did things a little differently on this set of tapes and included the albums in the ID3 tags so there isn’t a track to album list for each tape. You’ll just have to buy them all!)
Tape 2 is two tracks off of each of Avail’s full length albums. Tim’s method of delivery may have changed but these tracks will show you that from his humble punk rock beginnings to his quieter method these days the intensity hasn’t gone anywhere. I couldn’t choose a favorite part of Tim’s career if I tried. Although Pink Houses holds a special place in my heart. I probably listen to more of his solo stuff nowadays but that’s just where I am at. Also I’m old…and GET OFF MY LAWN!
Tim has a new album in the works so be sure to keep your eyes on Suburban Home Records for more details…(Editors Note: Or, you can just keep coming around here…we’ll let you know when it’s released…believe you me.)
Another week and there’s more Suburban Home posting on ninebullets.net. Look, in 3 days I’ll be boarding a big silver bird and heading out to Denver for the Suburban Home 14th Anniversary Party and anytime there is free music in the offering I feel obligated to tell y’all about it. So, I feel justified and like I said on the August podcast, they aren’t paying us or anything, we just like what they’re doing.
With that said, let’s talk free shit.
From Suburban Home Records:
With Suburban Home’s 14th Anniversary, we have made the decision that we would like to give everyone in the world one free album. We are a bit biased, but we think that Suburban Home is one of greatest record labels in the world while also being one of the smallest, least known record labels around. We hope that our offer to give you a free album will entice you to pick a release from one of our artists and hope that it will encourage you to tell others to grab an album, too.
No strings are attached to this. Trust me. You pretty much have to be a Grade A asshole not to take advantage of this offer. Grab the new Taker’s album, fall in love with Two Cow Garage, get personal with Tim Barry or drunk with Drag The River. Doesn’t matter, just take advantage of the offer.
Here is some stuff I’ve been sitting on that I’m not gonna be able to make a full post out of but I think might interest some of y’all:
- In an interview posted on his web site, Chuck Ragan confirmed that he is currently working on the follow-up to his solo debut, Feast or Famine. No title or expected release date have been announced.
- In the same interview Chuck confirms that a sequel to the Revival Tour is also in the works. Unfortunately, Chuck was mum on who would be playing; even hedging on confirming his own presence on the tour.
- This years Deep Blues Festival takes place from July 15 to July 19 in Minneapolis, MN at The Cabooze. A full festival pass costs 100 dollars but currently are offering them at a discount rate of 80 dollars. If that’s something that might interest you then go get ’em.
- If you live in the Tampa Bay Area and you make music then The Homemade Music Symposium might be something that will be of interest to you. It takes place Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14 in Ybor City and will feature seminars and workshops as well as plenty of live music. As an added caveat, your truly will be sitting in on one of the panels.
- A song from one of the Black Key’s frontman/guitarist, Dan Auerbach’s earlier bands, The Barnburners has been making the rounds. They’re performing a cover of Hound Dog Taylor‘s song “Gonna Send You Back To Georgia”. You can listen to it here.
- From the “oh my god I can’t believe I am getting this lucky” file. While I am up in Minneapolis for the Deep Blues Festival this year none other than Slim Cessna’s Auto Club are also gonna be in town. Going to see them means I am gonna miss some of DBF’s Friday night festivities but actually having a chance to see Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with my own two eyes and not doing it…well, quite simply, that’s just not an option at all. With this new addition I am afraid my head may explode from the awesome at some point that weekend.
Hey guys and gals. I’m sitting here in Colorado waiting for the sun to come up so I can get out of this room and onto the mountain. The nice thing about having an east coast internal clock is that I get up early enough to have coffee and eat without rushing.
Today’s guest post comes from the owner of the Colorado based (see the tie in there?) label, Suburban Home Records, Virgil Dickerson. It is about a band that quite frankly, I’ve heard of numerous times but had never heard. I hope y’all like it.
When a post from Bryan looking for Guest writers popped up on Twitter, I emailed Bryan letting him know my interest in contributing. Being a big fan of Ninebullets.net and having a background in zine publishing (Suburban Home started as a zine in 1995), I was thrilled when Bryan gave me the opportunity to write a little something. I asked him if there were any guidelines to which he replied, “No guidelines at all outside of take it seriously…I put alot of time and effort into ninebullets. Other than that, have fun with it.” Fair enough. At this point, I started thinking long and hard about an incredible band that I could share with all of you. I ruled out about writing about one of our bands (but let me shamelessly plug a few of our bands that I hope are on your radar – Drag the River, Two Cow Garage, Tim Barry, Austin Lucas, Yesterday’s Ring, The Takers, Jon Snodgrass, and Ninja Gun). I considered writing about Murder by Death only because Bryan told me he wasn’t a fan (I love them very much), but decided against it. I thought about writing about the new Justin Townes Earle, “Midnight at the Movies” which I got a promo of this week and am digging big time, but since I know that Bryan also loves them, I figured he would soon be writing about the album himself. After further thought, I could only think about one band that I think everyone should know about. This band is Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys.
Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys are from Boston, Massachusetts, and I first heard about them from Drag the River. Drag the River were given some early demos by Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys when Drag played a show with Dropkick Murphys. Chad and Jon loved those songs so much, they started playing “Cambridgeport Saloon” and “Leaving in the Morning” live and during the recording sessions that would become “It’s Crazy”, they recorded a cover of “Leaving in the Morning” which became the first song on the album. I had always thought “Leaving in the Morning” was a Drag the River original, but I was told that this was a song written by Lenny. After hearing that, I decided to pay a visit to the band’s myspace page and I am sure I listened to the 2 songs on their profile (“Cambridgeport Saloon” and “Lonely Days and Whiskey Nights”) about a million times. I loved every second of those 2 songs and immediately looked everywhere I could to find a copy. That search lead me to the Ludeboy Records’ site where I didn’t hesitate to mailorder the album although the $16 price seemed a bit high. I had heard that the label was slow at sending out mailorder and after 2 weeks, I still hadn’t received a copy of the album. A really kind friend burned a copy and mailed it to me and I received it before the copy I had purchased.
As I thought would be the case, I absolutely loved every song. Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys perfectly marry Country and Punk Rock unlike any band I have ever heard. Lenny has fronted the street punk band, Darkbuster, for years and he brings that energy to Honky Tonk Country. The upright bass and pedal steel guitar give the band a much older sound than you would otherwise think. The songs tell stories of late night bar fights, boozing, salvation, their favorite Ramones’ song, more boozing, and they even cover the Lowenbrau theme song. In one particular song, Lenny sings “I’m Thirty Something and I don’t Feel Old, Still listening to Punk Rock still like my beers cold,” and I think that lyric spoke to me more than any other lyric. I loved this record and this band so much, I contacted the band. I mentioned my interest in working with them and hopefully putting out their next album. This is when they told me that after their bass player passed away, the band pretty much fell apart. This my friends, is a true tragedy. I have spoke to the label that released their album and mentioned my interest in licensing it for release on vinyl, something I still want to do. With any luck, this will one day happen.
Although Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys are not active, Drag the River did play a show with Lenny the last time they were in Boston. Lenny, if you read this and are ever looking for a label to put out anything, please drop me a line.
Friends, I hope you like this band as much as I do. Thanks Bryan for letting me rant.
Leaving in the Morning (by Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys)
Cambridgeport Saloon (by Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys)
Lonely Days and Whiskey Nights (by Lenny and the Piss Poor Boys)
Leaving in the Morning (by Drag the River)
When Tim Barry’s 2007 release, Rivanna Junction, came out I wasn’t really digging it. It was descent enough but there wasn’t anything about it that caught my attention and after two listens it was moved to the cd rack to be forgotten. Then came the Revival Tour and even though I was there I used Tim’s set to grab some beers, use the bathroom, browse the merch table, etc. etc. Then a funny thing happened. The stage lost power during his set and instead of stopping he just walked down into the crowd and played a song acoustic while they restored power. Simple, I know, but that was enough for me to start paying attention to his set. I really enjoyed his between song banter but didn’t know the songs and the beer was starting to set up shop in my head and I ended up talking to my friend by the end of his set.
So goes the tragedy of my ignoring Tim Barry for all this time.
Indeed, even though his newest album, Manchester, had been sitting on my mantle for a week or so I didn’t think much about listening to it after the Revival Tour. No, it took collecting bootlegs of all the Revival Tour shows for me to realize how awesome Tim is. After collecting about 5 shows I told my wife, “I really think Tim Barry is starting to grow on me. He songs are so fucking sincere.” so I put his new album on the iPod and the rest is, as they say, history.
Tim Barry isn’t really the type of music you toss on for background music and it grabs you. Tim’s music wants you to sit down and listen to it. Hear the lyrics and feel them. If you do that you’ll know what I’ve recently learned: That Tim Barry and his new album are essential listening. In hind sight I went and pulled that long forgotten Rivanna Junction of the cd rack and discovered that it too is equally awesome.