After a vinyl pressing wasn’t in the cards for his 2009 New West Records release, Porcupine, Tim Easton took matters into his own hands, pressing a run of 500 12-inch records and painting 500 individual album jackets using wood stain, stencils, and paint in his home studio in Joshua Tree, California, and selling it through his own Campfire Recordings (P.O. Box 1976) and out on the road.
After a of string albums for New West, including 2006’s excellent Ammunition, Easton has stepped out on his own, self-releasing a new album of acoustic material, Since 1966-Vol. 1. The stripped-bare, voice-and-acoustic guitar arrangements on the album speak directly to Easton’s strengths: an affinity for early Dylan, a dusty campfire songwriting aesthetic, and adept rhythmic cross-picking. (For fans who are used to Easton’s bluesy, rawky output: do not fear. There’s a sort of simultaneous release with a band, aptly titled Beat The Band.)
But, for me, 1966 is what Tim Easton is all about. It picks up where we last left off with the Ohio-born troubadour, when he came by for a session back in October 2009. One of the unreleased songs he played at the time, “Festival Song,” even ends up on 1966. The song is a sort of bluegrass-y ode to the collective consciousness of music festivals. “When we all come together, it feels like the world’s gonna be all right,” he sings.
All over the album, Easton displays his gift for molding lyrics into the little top melodies he plays on guitar. On “To Katie,” perhaps the album’s best track, the story of two people’s struggles in a relationship is pushed along by the guitar’s rhythmic drive. “I have been the kind of man who wanders here and there,” Easton admits. “I just want you to be happy now.”
Stream the entire album below or buy it on Amazon.