The Truth About Us

Tim Easton

New West Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Tim Easton is the kind of artist who can get you up from your easy chair to dance, or he can lull you to sleep with his haunting melodies. Just one listen to his latest solo project, The Truth About Us, will make you feel like you've been listening to Easton's music for a lifetime. It's instantly approachable while sounding fresher than a lot of the country-folk out there today.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Vocally, Easton reminds the listener of a less-nasal Jakob Dylan, and his way with words also draws that parallel. Musically, though, Easton is closer to the Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan, daring to work steel guitar into the song in a way that makes the instrument sound unique - almost as if this kind of view of the pedal steel had never been considered before.

Easton hits his creative peak on songs like "Happy Now" (an interesting peek at life on the outside... and a bit haunting at times thanks to the portraits Easton paints), "Out Of Your Life" (another stark picture of life and the mistakes we make in it) and "Soup Can Telephone Game Conversation". Even adding Victoria Williams (who, admittedly, is not one of my favorite artists on the planet) feels right to the atmosphere and texture that Easton creates on The Truth About Us.

Although there are the occasional glimpses of hope that Easton offers in his lyrics ("Carry Me"), the bulk of this album is mired in despair and in the stories of the downtrodden. Yet Easton is able to take a song like "I Would Have Married You" or "Downtown Lights" and turn it from a dark etching of the soul into a piece of music that comes dangerously close to obliterating the original message. To his credit, he's still able to keep the basic flavor of the story alive, which ends up being a musical paradigm, balancing the darkness of the words with the energy of the music. It takes talent to pull such a stunt off, and Easton has it by the boatload.

The Truth About Us is not the feel-good album of the year, but I'm certain Easton never meant it to be that. Instead, it's a personal glimpse into a side of life that many don't dare to approach with their music... and we should be thankful that Easton is willing to shine a light onto that darkness.

Rating: A-

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of New West Records, and is used for informational purposes only.