Tim Easton’s recommendation: “A long list here because it’s all the classics plus those that came before them. I could sum it up in the way the Rollings Stones interpreted “I Used To Love Her” and sold our American music back to us with new attitudes of freedom and complete liberation. I love the band that I see on any given night that is putting it out there, going for it in whatever style they know best. I love the emotional honesty of Lucinda Williams, and I stand in awe of the relaxed and precise delivery of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. I love the Velvet Undergound, but who doesn’t? I saw a band called The Feelies when I was in college and I’m pretty sure they moved me to write songs too. My parents played classical records and I’m certain it moved me as a child as it does now. Then American classical music came along, otherwise known as Jazz, and you don’t stop.”
Tim Easton’s album suggestions: “Definitely Soul Journey by Gillian Welch. It seemed to be an album even she couldn’t get over for a while! Also, Lucinda William’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road will inform any songwriter or artist on how to be honest and strong at the same time. With the Stones, it’s Beggars Banquet for me. I love the folk music in the middle of the rock and roll.”
About our guest author, Tim Easton: You don’t have to go further than Tim Easton’s 2006 release, Ammunition to learn about his extreme street cred in the alt-country/singer-songwriter community. The collection features production from Jayhawks’ co-lead Gary Louris and backing vocals from Lucinda Williams and Tift Merritt. Big time enough for ya? Yeah, we thought so. Fast forward five years and three Independent Music Awards later, we find Easton (who is originally from Akron, OH), releasing not one but TWO solid records: the electric, band backed Beat the Band and the acoustic collection, Since 1966 | Volume 1, both being released on Easton’s own Campfire Propaganda label. Easton puts on a fantastic show and tours often, so be sure to support this A-level indie and check his tour page.
Teddy Thompson and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
Teddy Thompson’s recommendation: “These two are the most blissful musical union since George and Tammy, Gram and Emmy Lou. Their sound though is closer to the Carter Family or The Louvins: spare, almost always acoustic and totally honest. The fact that neither is from the South probably only helped them avoid any of the Nashville sheen that has ruined modern mainstream country music. It’s tempting to classify them as retro sounding or a throwback to a bygone era but rather than being dated, it’s just timeless.”
New to Gillian Welch & David Rawlings? Teddy recommends you start here: “I’d say Time (The Revelator) is a good place to start if you’ve never heard them. I believe it’s their 3rd or 4th record. It has a bit of everything. Catchy “pop” tunes, My First Lover, Red Clay Halo. Dreamy love songs, Dear Someone. A blistering live recording, I Want To Sing That Rock n Roll. And the remarkable last song which clocks in at over 14 minutes, I Dream a Highway. Somewhere in the middle there’s also perhaps the best song about Elvis I’ve ever heard.”
About our guest author, Teddy Thompson: Teddy is the son of folk legends Richard and Linda Thompson, so great song-writing is almost an automatic (not that we’re taking it for granted!). What really hooked us on Teddy is his ultra-smooth voice. We’re talking Roy Orbison smooth. We’re talking Chris Isaak smooth. We’re talking one-of-the-best-voices-in-the-pop-game smooth. His last outing, A Piece of What You Need is chock full of up songs, complete with bouncy bass and twangy guitars. No wonder The Guardian declared it “one of this year’s best” in 2008. Thompson’s next effort, Bella is coming out on Feb. 1 and is produced by David Kahne (The Strokes, Regina Spektor, Paul McCartney). Excited yet? Cruise over to the official Teddy Thompson website and sign up for his email newsletter for album and tour info.