Tim Easton “North American Songwriter Vol. 1 and 2”

Campfire Propaganda, 2023

Unplugged and raw – Close your eyes and let Easton transport you to a better, gentler world.

Born in Ohio but now living in Nashville. Easton describes himself as a dyed-in-the-wool troubadour.  In the mode of the great Southern bluesman such as Lightning Hopkins he has gone from town to town all over the world busking with just his guitar and harmonica. He has also however in the past worked with the likes of Mike Campbell and Lucinda Williams on previous albums. So is no stranger to interesting collaborations.

However this, his eleventh album is totally acoustic. It is a collection of twenty of his best-known songs that have been completely reworked and stripped back. It is a testament to how prolific he is that another three volumes are planned to come. “I wanted to have a record with me on the road that sounded more like what the listeners heard that day, without the fuss of distraction and production. These are my songs in the rawest form possible” he commented.

The first impression on hearing the album is overwhelmingly the playing quality and the craftsmanship of the lyrics. The picking is so clean, and the laconic harmonica is the perfect accompaniment to his voice which could be described as ‘Dylanesque’ in places. Every track is a distinct story beautifully told, in the same way that Harry Chapin did so well back in the seventies. Easton clearly enjoys his nomadic lifestyle and thankfully is still hopeful for the future: “If you wonder why, it feels so good, just look into a thousand pairs of eyes and you will understand. When we all come together it feels like the world will be all right”.

The record does really require the listener’s full attention. As with many acoustic albums, it’s too easy to let it wash pleasantly over you. That would be a great pity it deserves so much more. So, if you aren’t able to see Easton live any time soon, this is a perfect substitute. Sit back in your favourite chair with a glass of your favourite tipple. Close your eyes and let him transport you to a better, gentler world. A place where few of us may have been. After all ‘’No one wants to wake up angry nobody wants to go to bed insane’’.

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