- Barry Uhl is a multimedia master of misfortune.
Strange things happen on Wretched Knob. People mutate, turn invisible, and encounter the kind of elaborate deaths you'd think Chuck Palahniuk was responsible for. It's a small town of outcasts and tolerated evildoers stuck in time, teetering on the edge of a cliff on a thumb-shaped protrusion in the middle of nowhere, held to the earth by the gravity of Barry Uhl's imagination alone.
A Seattle-based writer and multi-instrumentalist who's played regularly with Damien Jurado and Shelby Earl and arranged for the Seattle Rock Orchestra, Uhl (pronounced "yule") self-released his debut solo album, An Account of the Happenings at Wretched Knob, this month. The 32-minute collection of songs, pressed to vinyl, delves into the lives of the fictional town's inhabitants, and an attached book of poetry and ink sketches, also by Uhl, digs even further into their world. As a package, it's a short and sweet coffee-table-sized book with thick black-and-white pages filled with fascinating illustrations of curious-looking but realistically drawn people in various states of mental detachment and physical disfigurement. There are letters to family members written in rhyme, tales of spell-casting maidens and medical experiments that follow the town from its foundation to the perpetual state of misfortune it finds itself in.