Karen Barry Goes 'Bare'

Local artist and stay-at-home mom forsakes laundry for the recording studio and releases her first album.

"'Bare' is a look at life from the middle which has its own turbulence," said singer-songwriter Karen Barry of her debut album released on March 24.

"It's about a place and time in life in life when you're trying to hold on to the past, live in the present and not let worry overtake your dreams for the future."

Sentiments from an artist who said several of her favorite poets, W.S. Merwin, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton influence everything she writes and thinks about.

She names especially, Neil Young along with Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams as her musical inspiration along with the rock of Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth and old Nirvana. "There's a bit of that rebel teenager in all of us." she said.

Barry —  not a typical suburban CT housewife and stay-at-home mom — has lived in New Canaan for the past fifteen years with her husband, Timothy Schwarz and their two teenage daughters, Abigail Schwarz and Audrey Schwarz. 

She started playing guitar about seven years ago after seeing Neil Young perform. It was the first live concert she had attended in a while because of the demands of a career in advertising and raising kids.

After that concert, "my head exploded," Barry told Patch. "I started playing guitar the next week and took lessons at Merit Music."

Neil Young, Barry's musical idol, is noticeably channeled in her songwriting, music and vocals which she describes as "Americana, a confluence of folk, rhythm and blues, country and rock and roll."

'Bare' contains fourteen original songs, and was self-produced and self-funded with a major nod to her supportive husband.

"My husband and daughters are my biggest fans," Barry said.

'Bare' was recorded as a live studio album with a full band, that included Bill Shute, a master guitar player and Barry's former teacher, and guitarist Keith Haman, who Barry met when they performed together at a Neil Young tribute show in California.

"There's a snowed-in feeling in this record somewhere." she said of the two winter days they spent recording at Carriage House Studios in Stamford, CT.

She plans to perform live at venues in Connecticut and New York and hopes to break even with the sale of CDs and downloads.

Her daughters, who sang back-up on 'Bare,' thought she was crazy to produce a physical CD. "Everyone just downloads today, Mom!" they told her.

'Bare' is available on i-Tunes but Barry hopes some people still want the actual music to hold in their hand.

"I know I still like to touch it," she said.

Rick A March 31, 2011 at 03:05 PM
Rock on Karen!
Jill Seagraves April 02, 2011 at 05:27 AM
I so hear and feel where you are coming from.....keeping the past alive, and concerned about what's ahead! Need to listen now! Living a dream is a great thing, CONGRATS! Jill
Kevin Barry April 09, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Kare, I love the CD, it resonates with confidence of who you are, of who we are and that the middle can be the beginning of many things that are great. From your biggest fan from the beginning and forever. Carpe diem Kev
Vicki Holt May 01, 2011 at 12:16 AM
An unusual trail got me to this site. It has been a long time. I am looking at colleges with my daughter and started to think about my college life. I don't remember any Neil Young back in our college days, but then again it was the 80's! Is this a reply from your brother? I am working near Merrimack College currently and remember going to his graduation there. Hope all has gone well with you and your family. If you receive this and want to reply my email is vlholt@comcast.net. I am not so current as to be on Facebook, etc. Best, Vicki
Roberta Lasky June 15, 2011 at 07:20 PM
HI. Great article! ED is going to be on Letterman on 6/20. Just had to share w/u. Roberta Lasky robbi22@yahoo.com


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