High Fives 2022 03) Jeb Barry


We’ve reviewed three Pawn Shop Saints albums here on Music Riot and they’ve all been great pieces of work, particularly 2020’s ‘Ride My Galaxy’. When we asked for contributions for this year’s tenth anniversary of the High Fives feature, Jeb Barry was one of the first to submit a contribution covering, in true High Fives tradition, a wide range of his special 2022 moments and experiences. Over to Jeb:

So here are my five favorite things of the past year or so…

Home recording:

Josh Pisano in The Attic Studio
Mike O’Neill in The Attic Studio

 I’m lucky enough to have my own small recording studio where my band, The Pawn Shop Saints, record, mix and master all of our releases. It’s small, but it works for our style of music…laid back acoustic Americana. It’s been an important part of the creative process to simply walk up a flight of stairs and work on music….and it doesn’t cost us a penny. This is important since I fund everything myself and we are 100% indie…we do it all on our own. It may be a little low tech for some, but we are trying to create our own sound our own way. Sometimes it works..other times..well, not so much..but it sure is fun.

Before I dropped the ‘Jeb Barry and…’

The European Americana Scene:

I live in the Berkshires in the state of Massachusetts…not a huge original music scene, but that’s ok since, from the start, we’ve focused on promoting ourselves across the Atlantic instead of at home. Europe seems to have a more focused and concentrated Americana scene, and our last three albums have all charted there, thanks to great support from our promoter, djs, critics, writers, bloggers, etc…It’s still pretty cool to see all the airplay and reviews that we get with every release, which makes all the work worthwhile.

Except for my publisher and a handful of others in Nashville, we are pretty much unknown…even in our own town. It’s simply too hard to compete with groups with money behind them and staff to do the hard work of promotion, publicity, booking, distribution,  and everything else that goes with doing original music.  We play live only a couple of times a year locally since we are not in the local music loop and are picky where we play. My dream is to someday get to play some shows in Europe, even if it’s a solo show.

Solid Sound 2013 – J Barry

The Return of Live Music:

Solid Sound, Wilco’s three day festival that occurs at the Mass Moca Museum complex, finally returned this past spring. Since it is held five miles from me, I have gone to every one of them in the past ten years. To be honest, I was a little uncomfortable being in such large crowds with Covid still a factor, but since it was outside it made it a little easier to be in a crowd of 8,000. This festival, along with the Freshgrass Roots festival held every September (I have played six of them) are three days of bands, food, art, and performances. It’s great to see old favorites again and new groups for the first time. It’s a great scene…not too big like some festivals.

Unfortunately some of the music clubs I used to go to pre-Covid have closed or drastically cut their schedules.

The Ongoing vinyl resurgence

Yeah, I’ve been collecting vinyl records for about 12 years. The resurgence in interest is great, but it has had some negative impacts on my hobby. For one, I can’t simply go to the local thrifts or estate sales and find tons of records like I used to do. There is so much more competition, but that’s ok…I just have to try a little harder. The resurgence has also impacted my bands releases, as I planned to press our last two releases on vinyl, just for the hell of it, but due to everyone pressing their releases, the cost and wait time was too much for us, so we’re sticking to CDs and digital.

Calton Guitar Cases:

Eight years ago I finally splurged on an upper level acoustic guitar; a Martin HD-28 with the 1935 sunburst color scheme. Since then, I have always been nervous to fly with that guitar, given how airlines can mistreat musical instruments. So I finally splurged on my dream guitar case (yes, there is such a thing LOL) …a Calton case, handmade in Austin, Texas. This gives me a little more peace of mind when I fly the next time and can take my main guitar, instead of my second guitar (A Martin 000-15). Hopefully this will be next summer when I try to get back overseas. Oh yeah, I got a blue one since it’s easier to find at the airport…or if someone walks off with it.

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