American Fork is the latest from serial Americanarer Tim Easton and it ticks several boxes associated with the genre but somehow the sum of the parts seems to equal less than the individual components. Take track 3 for example: ‘Elmore James’ – great subject matter , clever lyrics, groovy atmospheric instrumentation and production but… it just seems to be – without communicating a feeling and then fades away as if realising its own inadequacy.
Similarly track 4 ‘Gatekeeper’ with a gorgeous 12 string Gibson acoustic summoning up all sorts of ghosts but by the time the backing vocals come in you realise that for all the bluff and bluster generated by the super slide work the track is done and indeed forgotten. ‘Burning Star’ could be the Dylan ‘Oh Mercy’ track ‘Where Teardrops Fall’ without the irony and lyricism. As it is, it is a passable ballad but nothing special. Only on ‘On My Way’ does the listener feel that Easton is really connecting with his mojo. Singing about his daughter he avoids falling into lachrymose sentiment despite a lyric that borders on the sentimental.It is a simple love song simply sung.
There is much talent here, highlighted by Easton’s ability to attract a top cast of musicians to join him but there needs to be a sharper edge to the songwriting to lift him out of the run of the mill.