When I asked Tim Barry how he would classify the style of music he plays, he told me, “I just say it’s Rock & Roll with an acoustic guitar.” I’ll buy that. I know that his solo set during the show at the Middle East Downstairs on Sunday, July 21st reminded me of what rock and roll is really about as much or more than did any of the sets by artists with full bands and electric instruments. He had the nervous energy and desire to please that an aspiring artist might bring to an important audition, yet he was confident and a consummate performer. He established a rapport with the audience that made it seem like he leading a sing along with a bunch of friends at a pub. This was especially true when he took the microphone stand from the stage and put in on the floor in front so he could sing in the midst of the crowd. This was a guy who was working his ass off to put on a great show, but having a great time at it. He told stories and philosophized, but mostly he played his heart out, and the crowd ate it up.
As he recounted in the post Musicians Egos and…, he had been largely responsible for bringing the show together, and several acts expressed their appreciation to “nice guy” Tim, either from the stage of when I talked to them later. It was a Sunday night show that certainly didn’t feel like it was happening on a Sunday night! I’ll have more to say about the other acts in later posts, but for now let me tell you about Tim Barry, and incredibly exciting artist I had the good fortune to interview on June 17 by phone from his home in Richmond, four days before the show in Cambridge.