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Based out of Richmond, VA, singer/songwriter Tim Barry is most well known as the frontman for Avail, an aggressive hardcore outfit that's been rocking out in the underground since the early '90s. He largely grew up in Reston, a suburb just outside of D.C., fueling his teenage restlessness with 1980s punk, speed metal, and, of course, the nearby Dischord scene. Later on, he grew to appreciate his parents' folk, country, and classical collections as well. Fronting Avail since 1991, the band had released six studio albums as of 2006 and toured exhaustively all over the world, turning themselves into something of cult favorites in the process.
In the mid-2000s, the politically conscious Barry began releasing solo material that abandoned the loud-hard-fast punk rules of Avail and stripped it all down to Woody Guthrie-inspired folk, the only thing tying the two projects together being Barry's gruff voice and brash delivery. Armed with just his guitar, Barry recorded some demos in 2005 on the side, simply for himself to share with his friends; he laid the tracks down with no intentions of formally releasing the material outside of just burning CD-Rs for extra gas money at shows. But one such friend was so taken by the honesty of his music that Barry was eventually convinced to release the eight songs as is under the title Laurel Street Demo 2005 on his friend's German label, Dancing in the Dark.
In between touring the U.S. twice over with Avail, he took off two weeks in 2006 to lay down more material for a subsequent full-length album, using various friends and family members as backing musicians. Owing much to his blue-collar roots in Richmond — where he spent much time riding freight trains and sitting by the James River — the candid country-tinged folk of Rivanna Junction was issued in November 2006 via Suburban Home Records.