MEET THE BAND: Tim Easton (vocals, guitar)
A NORTHEAST OHIO NATIVE: An Akron native, singer-songwriter Tim Easton moved out of Northeast Ohio years ago and now lives in Nashville, but he still has strong ties to the musical community here. The youngest of seven kids, he had a lot of vinyl records to comb through as a child. "Growing up in Akron with a large family provided lots of music to check out as a kid," he says. "My two older brothers play guitar and they would teach me blues licks and what not. They made sure that I wasn't just listening to WMMS. They made sure I discovered Elmore James." His first breakthrough gig came when he opened for Willie Nelson in Cleveland after Billie Joe Shaver canceled. He also fondly recalls seeing the Kinks at the Coliseum. "Great spot."
AN EARNEST EFFORT: Easton has just finished recording his ninth solo album, Paco & the Melodic Polaroids. The "Paco" in the album's title refers to a Gibson J-45 guitar he bought in Columbus, Ohio, in 1987. Recorded by locally based Earnest Tube, the album represents a return to the way popular American music was originally recorded. Over the course of two days last September, Easton worked in the Earnest Tube's Bristol, Virginia, studio and recorded 10 solo acoustic tracks direct to lacquer with Clinton Holley III, co-owner of the Earnest Tube.
JUST A SINGLE TAKE: Each song on Paco & the Melodic Polaroids is captured in a single take via a vintage portable lathe that cuts the signal directly to a lacquer acetate disc. "I wanted to make a record as quickly and inexpensively as I could and have it mean something more than just home recording," says Easton. "I had 10 songs that were perfect for the direct-to-lacquer format. I wanted to make a record that sounds like it does when I play a show. You can't stop and start and there's no cutting and pasting. If the buttons from your shirt hit the guitar and are in the take, that's the way it is." Easton financed the project through the crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic, and the Cleveland-based Gotta Groove Records will press the vinyl version of the album.
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: "Old New Straitsville Blues," the opening tune on Paco & the Melodic Polaroids, features just vocals and acoustic guitars. Easton adds harmonica to the mix for "Elmore James," a tribute to the blues musician known for playing a mean slide guitar. "Another Good Man" serves as an ode to cocaine, and Easton adopts a Dylan-like drawl as he sings about how "the company boss is tight with the law man." "I've traveled on and off and had that guitar for 30 years and was a street musician for years in Europe with that guitar," says Easton as he explains how the songs were written over the course of the past couple of decades. "There have been bus rides and hitchhiking. The music on the album just feels natural and un-fussed over." Easton will have vinyl copies of the album for his sale at the upcoming show at Survival Kit.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: timeaston.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Tim Easton performs with Lawrence Daniel Caswell at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 13, at Survival Kit.