Hoosier becomes a Sooner and creates a magnificent album.
‘The Little In-Between’ is Tim Grimm’s ninth album and he’s been at it for a good 25 years. He could be forgiven for settling into a personal formula and doing what he has done before, only a little differently. But he hasn’t. Instead, Grimm has produced a deeply personal album that speaks to this moment in his life. It is a powerful – and beautiful – piece of work.
This is the first album he has produced outside Indiana. Grimm, a true Hoosier, grew up in Indiana. After spending time as an actor in California, he moved back home to raise a family and run a farm. The albums recorded in Indiana memorialize his life – as son, husband, father and farmer. He sings of his family and their small part of the world in such exquisite detail that the reality of being Hoosier comes alive for listeners, making these songs universal. But the world portrayed in the song ‘Pumpkin the Cat’ on his 2009 album, ‘Farm Songs’ has shifted and so has Grimm.
Now, he has become a Sooner, someone from Oklahoma, Woody Guthrie’s birth state. The songs on ‘The Little In-Between’ capture the pain and loss that were part of that move.
In the first song, ‘Leaving’ Grimm tells of departing from a place that is in his bones, and the pain of the parting. In the next two songs, ‘Lonesome All The Time’ and ‘I Don’t Know This World’, he sings of leaving not just someplace, but also someone; “Our boys are up and grown, the dove of love has flown, I have left you alone and now I off to Oklahoma.” He returns to the pain and repercussions of separation from a different view in ‘The Breath of Burning’.
Grimm varies from these themes on ‘The Little In-Between’, which was reviewed on Americana UK. ‘New Boots’ is a wonderful tribute to his father, who he quotes, “holdin’ on to old things was like holden’ on to time.” He ends on an up note with the love song ‘Bigger Than the Sky.”
The songs were all written in three months. As Grimm has said, “This album came pretty fast – it just sort of fell out of me, and it was my job simply to try to capture the words and the images.” He then recorded all nine songs on one day in a studio in Norman, Oklahoma with Steve Boaz, a sound engineer he had never met and with all new muscians, rather than his usual Family Band. The sound is spare, though Grimm added depth in Edinburgh, Scotland, working with Scottish cellist Alice Allen and slide guitarist Sergio Webb in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
This album is intensely personal. Listening to it is as intimate as a conversation with an old friend, one who trusts you enough to tell you things they don’t even say out loud to themselves. In sharing his pain, Grimm has created a deeply resonant album.