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Rick Barry

By Gary Wien

Rick Barry may be a man without a home, but he's a man with a vision. The 23-year-old poet turned singer-songwriter is about to release his long awaited debut record. The recordings on the CD issue may very well be the signal that the next great New Jersey songwriter has emerged. Only don't call this guy the next Bob Dylan, he's got too much Billy Bragg in him for that. He's an artist that doesn't give a fuck what people think. In other words, he's the real deal...

His CD is called "Small Town Politics" which is ironic since Rick is emerging as a songwriter unafraid to show his political side (he is extremely involved in politics outside of music) but the record doesn't reveal that side of him. In fact, his most political song to date might be the last one he's written - "Stupid American Song". That's the song he wishes was on the CD, but it'll have to wait. The title actually deals with something his friend and mentor, Chris Buono, told him one night when a club employee was giving him a hard time telling him what he could and couldn't do.

"Don't stress it man", said Buono. "It's just small town politics."

The title may have stuck in his head because Rick is looking ahead to a career not bound by the clubs of New Jersey. "I want to sell a million copies," he laughs. "But realistically my goal is to sell enough copies to be able to make another record."

It make seem strange to say that Rick Barry's songwriting is showing signs of maturity as his first record is about to be released, but it's true. The prolific writer has already written well over 350 songs, of which, he is not afraid to play half of them on stage. The remaining songs were those written when Rick first started writing at age 15 and the lyrics have not aged gracefully.

One sign of his lyrical maturity came as he was about to release the record several months ago and realized that a few songs were weak - especially compared to the songs he had been writing recently. So, he decided to add some of the newer tracks to the disc. The problem was that he had written enough material to record an entirely new record, so which songs should be added? He decided to get a little help from his friends.

"I had a party where I played 15 new songs for about 30 people," explained Barry. "I had them vote one to ten on things like lyrics and melody and make comments for each song. But I made the mistake of giving everyone beer and food before we played the set. So, as we're playing, people are going upstairs to take a leak and going outside to smoke cigarettes. There was about four people who sat through the entire thing. The songs we added to the record were the ones that got the highest scores out of those four people. Stakeout, Broken English, and Wasteland were chosen by the only people sober in my house that day - myself included."

His songwriting is beginning to reveal parts of himself that he previously masked through characters. Instead of telling stories and getting from point A to point B, Rick is reverting back to his poetry background - something he tried to avoid in the past.

"I thought it was really cheesy to consider myself a poet for a long time, but in the past few months I've realized that there's nothing wrong with that," said Barry. "It's what I am. If I couldn't play an instrument, I would be a poet or a short story writer. So the songs on the record are short stories and the songs I'm writing now are starting to come from more of a personal level. They're poetry. I'm writing more from the heart as opposed to trying to make or create characters.

"There's always been a piece of me in every character in every song. I couldn't create a character without a part of me. Usually it's a bad part. I've always used stories as a mask to explain what was going on inside me; whether it was an idea or an impulse that I had that I didn't have the freedom to fulfill."

Part of the change in his songwriting from stories to revealing true parts of himself stems from the fanbase he has amassed throughout the past few years. Rick regularly plays clubs in Asbury Park like the Saint and Stone Pony and has opened for many national acts. In some cases, his audience actually outdraws the national acts - a rarity in these days where artists have to literally drag their friends out to the show. And Rick is getting more and more comfortable in front of his audience.

"At this point I've gotten a decent enough fanbase where I feel that if I delve slightly into politics they won't stray," said Barry. "It's a thin line when you try to express yourself without insulting somebody. It's easier with characters. I can have a character in a song say, 'will you be my whore' and I'm not going to have girls call me a masochist because the character said it instead of me. That song is a character based on my more lustful side. But now I feel free enough to say what's really going on inside me without the mask.

"It's like when you have a girlfriend and at first you've got to be nervous putting your hand up her shirt and once you've been dating her for a while you can ask her to do the dirtiest, kinkiest things on the planet. So, once you feel comfortable as a musician you can really start to evolve from the mask."

He's constantly changing, constantly evolving, and usually full of surprises.

He's one of a kind... Thank God.

For more by this author, click here

The Jersey Shore Music Scene To Celebrate The Life Of Bob Colyard On November 18
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Memorial Day weekend was somber this year for the Jersey Shore music community who lost one of its biggest supporters in Bob Colyard.  An avid music fan who often went to live shows in Asbury Park, Colyard, 68, passed away on May 20th after a bike ride through the Manasquan Bike Trail.  The music community will gather to remember Bob on Sunday, November 18th at The Saint in Asbury Park.  An afternoon of music featuring several of Bob's favorites will run from 11:00am to around 4:30pm. Admission is $10 and proceeds will be donated to Musicians On A Mission.  
SOPAC Presents The Klezmatics
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The foremost and best-loved Klezmer band, The Klezmatics, offer a program from their Grammy Award-winning collaboration with Woody Guthrie’s lyrics for Hanukkah. The Klezmatics bring their hip, East Village sensibility to the South Orange Performing Arts Center on Thursday, November 29 at 7:30pm.
Mayo Presents Dave Koz & Friends
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Santa Koz is coming to town! Multi-Grammy® nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz returns to Mayo Performing Arts Center for a spirited holiday celebration on Monday, December 3 at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $49-$89. Special Guests joining Dave this year will be saxophonist Mindi Abair, guitarist Jonathan Butler, keyboard sensation Keiko Matsui and vocalist Sheléa.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Presents An Evening of Holiday Music with Musicale Amice
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) continues its Salon Series with an Evening of Holiday Music featuring Musicale Amice on Thursday, December 6 at 7:30pm at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Wine, cheese, and hot cocoa will be served and the concert will end with a festive sing-along. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free for Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts students. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 908-790-0700.
The Life Of Tom Richards To Be Celebrated On Saturday, November 17
(WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ) -- The cover story of New Jersey Stage magazine Issue 44 was on Tom Richards, a musician born and raised in New Jersey, and his battle with an aggressive and incurable form of cancer.  At the time, Tom believed he had a year or two left and was fighting to complete an album in that time.  Sadly, Tom lost his battle on October 2, 2018.  A  celebration of his life will take place at the O'Brien Funeral Home in Wall Township on Saturday, November 17 from noon to 4:00pm.

Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!
"Magical!" Poco LIVE! at SOPAC
Music fans are filing into the beautiful South Orange Performing Arts Center auditorium on this gorgeous Saturday, October 13, 2018 evening for a performance by a group that helped to define the genre of country rock — Poco!
“I Felt the Love!” Diana Krall’s “Turn Up the Quiet” Tour LIVE! at the State Theatre
Many years ago, after Tony Bennett made a singing appearance on The Tonight Show, host Johnny Carson told him how great his voice sounded that night. When Bennett appeared surprised, Carson asked him if there was anything different about his voice, and Bennett sheepishly replied, “I have a cold.”

Event calendar
Monday, Nov 12, 2018


DAVID SANCIOUS & WILL CALHOUN @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

WHEN BROADWAY GOES DARK, VAN DYK GOES LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

Bickford Benefit All-Stars @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 7:30pm

In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert – The Hologram Tour @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

MUDDFEST 2019 @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 7:00pm


Elf The Musical @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm

Auditions: Cinderella or the Story of Bigfoot @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm


Free Solo @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm


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