Album Review

A Spoonful of Telling Americana

Tim Easton - American Fork

Despite a storied career as one of Nashville’s most well-travelled troubadours, Tim Easton’s never been content to play any role expected of him. Instead, he’s cast his gaze on songs that offer compact vignettes, flush with rich characters and telling narratives about scenes and scenarios he’s witnessed from the road. Each outward glance has been accompanied by some subtle revelation, a philosopher’s stone perhaps, but one with rock and roll relevance. 

American Fork finds Easton continuing to offer up a knowing perspective but unlike his earlier efforts, it finds a skewed perspective, one that’s jaded but philosophical all at the same time. Whether repeating frequent metaphors (“Youth is wasted on the young...you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”) as on the smoothly swaying “Elmore James,” or offering up a harmonica shuffle and some unassuming twang with “Killing Time,” Easton’s nonchalant manner suggests a man resigned to circumstance but never reticent to offer up an opinion. Granted, none of these eight songs are especially intrusive, but given the sublime sensibility of “Burning Star” and the obvious infusion of inspiration on the scrappy “Now vs. Now,” one can’t help get the feeling that Easton considers himself some kind of sage at this stage of his career, one with clear resolve and an unfettered desire to state his case without hesitation.

Indeed, there’s a clear sense of grit and determination present in these grooves, making American Fork Easton’s toughest and most tenacious effort yet. Listen to the grizzled narrative that underscores the aforementioned Now Vs. Now” or the weary but resolute wander’s tale “Alaskan Bars, Part 1” for whatever proof is needed. So while the aching album closer “On My Way” finds him bidding farewell, one can only hope he plans another return very, very soon. 

I didn't know Tim was based in Nashville now.  I thought he was living in Joshua Tree.   Hopefully that means he'll play the East Coast a little more so I can catch him again.        

Always good to see him get some love.   Thanks for this.    

Wouldn't have thought Joshua Tree would be a problem for a "bi-coastal elitist" Rudyjeep?  You can't just fly out?  Oh yeah, it's that thing about the wife and the Hudson River...never mind...

I have a few of Tim's other records and I'm looking forward to hearing this one...thanks Lee... 

My wife has salt water in her veins Jim.   She reads Moby Dick and books about Lord Nelson and the British Navy.   Maybe she served at Trafalgar in a past life.   As long as she's near an ocean she's fine.   Of course I took her hours away so she wants to get even with me and make me live in Massachusetts some day.   

All of Tim's albums have some gems on them.   I'm not sure where you live in Indiana but Tim's a Columbus native and I notice he plays Ohio quite a bit.  

On a few his albums, he has recorded songs from a friend of his that is a songwriter/documentary filmmaker named JP Olsen.   JP's songs are great and I've read he plays in various bands as well.   I've love to catch him some day.        

That's exactly what I would say about records I have by Tim...I always really like about half of the record...which is true of an awful lot of records truthfully...I saw an interview with Tim in a magazine called American Songwriter...one of my neighbors is a songwriter who lived in Nashville for quite while and he subscribes to that, so I read it sometimes...he mentioned  JP Olsen as one of the greatest living songwriters and of all time and said he'd stand next to Townes Van Zandt's grave and say that...he mentioned the documentary film "Narcotic Farm" that Olsen made too...I looked that thing up...I'd heard about that place back in the 70's when they shut it down...that's an amazing story...volunteer prisoners and inpatients as guinea pigs for drug experiments...as for Olsen's bands, he mentioned those too...I'd never heard of any of them, but they all had great names...one of them was something like "The Benefactors of Malevolence"...don't quote me on that...I'm 3 hours from Columbus by the way...I've been there for concerts before several times...Eric Clapton lives there these days...his current wife is a native I believe, but he says he can just walk around there, so he likes that...

My wife has an obsession with stories about ships also, mostly the disaster type scenario like USS Indianapolis or the Titanic...and aircraft disasters...and recently, mountain climbers and the stories about people being lost on Everest...there's a similarity there I guess...water is the life force...that's the attraction/fascination I guess...

You can move to Massachusetts as long as you don't become a Patriots fan...

Clapton in Columbus?  I remember Dublin as being a pretty ritz area so I guess I can see him there.     

I lived there briefly in the 80's and when I say briefly, I mean four weeks.   I was in a relationship with a woman going to OSU and I thought I was moving out there.   I couldn't get a job and the relationship fell apart, hence the four weeks.   I've always been an OSU fan and got to go to a game at the Horseshoe though so it wasn't all bad. 

I'll also make a promise I won't become a Red Sox fan Jim!