Tim Easton’s new album, AMERICAN FORK, is a playfully radical call to action for all listeners to abandon apathy. The first track, RIGHT BEFORE YOUR OWN EYES, contains more melodic twists and turns than any previous recording by Easton, as well as the first saxophone hook on any of his records. The album continues on to elaborate arrangements with sing-a-long choruses, penetrating lyrics, and the finest backing band any Nashville songwriter could want, including the drummer Jon Radford(Justin Townes Earle, Steelism), bassist Michael Rinne(Rodney Crowell), pedal steel wizard Russ Pahl(Ray Lamontagne, John Hiatt), and multi-instrumentalist Robbie Crowell(Deertick, Turbo Fruits).
What the ears have here is a live band kicking it on the studio floor with Easton singing along, playing mostly electric guitar this time, recorded at the spacious and moody Club Roar with Patrick Damphier producing. The songwriter elaborated on his intentions: “I am a fan of the change-up pitch. My aim is to prod a fork in the somewhat predictable Americana format.” Track 2, KILLING TIME, is an open letter to all armchair non-conformists to stand up and be counted, with female backing vocals reminiscent of a Leonard Cohen production. Song 3 is ELMORE JAMES, a swampy dedication to the bluesman who could shake a whole room with one groove. Americana indeed, with no edge lines.
A vintage 1970’s 12-string Gibson acoustic guitar in Lead Belly tuning makes an appearance on Track 4-GATEKEEPER-a devious, vibe heavy ditty about the entertainment business. Easton flat picks the guitar like Doc Watson and puts a brass slide to it like Jimmy Page while simultaneously playing a kick drum and singing over dissonant cello and more haunting female backing vocals. Side Two is equally as moody, kicking off with a songwriter’s song called BURNING STAR, then Northbound for a novelty track that conjures the surreal journey of an Alaskan bar fly, (ALASKAN BARS PART 1). Next is another apathy busting track called NOW VS. NOW, and lastly a closing lullaby for Easton’s five year old daughter (ON MY WAY).
Born within a stone’s throw of the Niagara River in Upstate New York and raised in Akron,Ohio, Tim Easton learned American Folk music and the history of Rock & Roll from the record collections of his older brothers and sisters-plus the various albums/books his Mother brought home from working at the library. Easton also spent 7 years performing on the streets of Europe, living the traveling life that led to a catalog of over 100 published songs so far.