Time Sawyer “Dig a Little Deeper”

Mentally Tight Productions, 2023

Another fine set which continues to suggest that Time Sawyer should be better known.

Cover art for Time Sawyer EP 'Dig a Little Deeper'Hailing from that hunting ground of musical excellence, North Carolina, Time Sawyer are an indie folk/Americana band releasing their 7th album, albeit that the last three (this one included) are, as is the current vogue, longish EPs rather than full-length albums.  They are led by songwriter and lead singer Sam Tayloe, who also plays acoustic guitar. Fine harmonies are provided by banjo player Houston Norris, while Damon Atkins plays electric guitar and provides additional harmonies. The rhythm section is Jordan Nelson on drums and Court Wynter of bass, who contributes a very fine solo on the last track ‘210 (It’s over)’. While still young they have been recording for more than 10 years and are very competent musicians.

Dig a Little Deeper’ explores the ups and downs and difficulties in making connections with others (a consequence of lockdown?) and the need to dig a little deeper to try and make these connections – “Ain’t it a shame that we all see different, different ways. What kind of life are you living if you’re not building in a few breaks? I heard you say it’s a race, But you’re just standing in place. Oh and ain’t it a shame from ‘Shame’, a nice medium pacer with rolling banjo that is a feature of most of the tracks and wailing harmonica towards the end.

Speedball Tucker’, written by Jim Croce and the only cover, is a rollicking song with the ubiquitous banjo and fine electric guitar solo, another regular feature. ‘It’s what it is’  is a ’connection’ song about commonality between people of different status, and drives towards its finish with nice duelling electric guitar and banjo. ‘Goodbye Forever I Guess’ is another ‘connection’ song, a lovely ballad about early courtship issues with a great electric solo – “She said goodbye forever I guess We didn’t know each other anyway Well it don’t hurt you, and I’m fine I guess” The highlight is a 7-minute murder ballad (the aforementioned  ‘210‘), one of their live staples which was recorded on an earlier album, ‘Disguise the Limits’, but which has been extended and added to and features some great solos including the aforementioned jazzy bass solo.

This is a very good band. The songs are melodic and meaningful, Sam Tayloe’s voice is slightly high-pitched but distinctive (not unlike early Jeff Tweedy or indeed Jim Croce, which makes the Croce cover an interesting choice) and the album should perhaps be another step towards wider recognition. Certainly worth checking out.

8/10
8/10

About FredArnold 57 Articles
Lifelong fan of predominantly US (and Canadian) country roots music. Previously an avid concert-goer before wives, kids and dogs got in the way- and although I still try to get to several, my preference for small independent venues often means standing, and that ain't too good for my ancient bones!! Still, a healthy and catholic music collection helps ease the pain
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