TIM EASTON: American Fork (CD)

Tim Easton’s new album, American Fork, is a playfully radical call to action for all listeners to abandon apathy. The first track, Right Before Your Own Eyes, contains more melodic twists and turns than any previous recording by Easton, as well as the first saxophone hook on any of his records.

The album continues on to elaborate arrangements with sing-a-long choruses, penetrating lyrics, and the finest backing band any Nashville songwriter could want, including the drummer Jon Radford (Justin Townes Earle, Steelism), bassist Michael Rinne (Rodney Crowell), pedal steel wizard Russ Pahl (Ray Lamontagne, John Hiatt), and multi-instrumentalist Robbie Crowell (Deertick, Turbo Fruits).

What the ears have here is a live band kicking it on the studio floor with Easton singing along, playing mostly electric guitar this time, recorded at the spacious and moody Club Roar with Patrick Damphier producing. The songwriter elaborated on his intentions: “I am a fan of the change-up pitch. My aim is to prod a fork in the somewhat predictable Americana format.” Track 2, Killing Time, is an open letter to all armchair non-conformists to stand up and be counted, with female backing vocals reminiscent of a Leonard Cohen production.

Song 3 is Elmore James, a swampy dedication to the bluesman who could shake a whole room with one groove. Americana indeed, with no edge lines. October/November Tour currently being booked