“The back stage door of the Ryman Auditorium is directly across the alley from the back door to Robert’s Western World on Lower Broadway. I walked in the bar one night and heard the locals killing it. Jd Simo on guitar and Joe Fick on upright bass. It was just the modern, yet vintage sound that I wanted and I simply asked them to play on my record.” – Tim Easton
Tim Easton kicked off the release date of Not Cool, his umpteenth album on his own Campfire Propaganda Label with distribution through Nashville’s Thirty Tigers last Tuesday night after a warm introduction from Mike Grimes himself who said he had been listening to the album quite a bit and was excited about it.
Along with members from The Don Kelley Band, his longtime road warrior fiddler, Megan Palmer played a huge part and was a nice foil for all the guitar work going on as well as adding occasional harmony vocals.
While John Radford was able to sit in on the skins, ”Slick” Joe Fick, who was part of The Dempseys hailing from Tacoma, Washington then made Memphis home after getting the seal of approval from Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley several years ago, was not able to throw down on the Upright Bass. Eric Alvar, who is new to Nashville, did a great job of blending in with the formidable five piece band.
Not Cool may be Tim Easton’s most rocking work yet. Tim commented how quickly things came together with this group of players after finishing six songs on their first day in the studio.
Tim brought along the $100 Kay guitar that he used to record the majority of the album with to use on the last song. The Kay has probably made a rare live appearance since it didn’t stay in tune very well and was definitely not road worthy.
Tim’s banter in-between songs kind of swung between trying to get his young daughter to come and dance with the band and asking the Grimey’s crowd if they had any questions. Interestingly enough, Tim wasn’t able to get his little girl to come up and dance in front of everybody and nobody asked nay questions which kind of made for some light laughter after a while.
Jd Simo’s guitar playing was both deft and cut through when it needed it to. JD’s several years down on Lower Broad showed through his professional approach in keeping an eye on Tim as he watched him like a hawk for the cues and where things were heading.
Jd Simo has been doing other things, among them his own blues power trio. My money would be on watching local Jd Simo over a passer through like Joe Bonamassa any day.
There were some real high points to the new songs, especially “Don’t Lie” which seems to be creating some early buzz as well as the flat out honestly great full-on vintage rocker “Little Doggie (1962)” not to be outshined by the locally inspired “Gallatin Pike Blues.” Any local can tell you there is definitely a collection of salt of the earth people to write about on Gallatin Pike.
It seemed to run to quick with several high points from the cheap off the strip Vegas drifter tune “Four Queens” to just about everything. It was all good. The real question is does the music stand up to Tim’s catalog and truth be told this seems spot on to what needs to be heard right now; music that has some deep roots, but is written about the rusty old corners that are being inhabited today in the modern world.
- Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN firstname.lastname@example.org