Tim Easton: Porcupine

By: Dennis Cook

This is the corker Tim Easton has been working towards in his first decade as a first-tier singer-songwriter. His fifth album, Porcupine (released April 28 on New West), offers ample evidence that there's another decade or three in this earthy Midwesterner, who returns to the bar band heft of his youth here. Oh, there's still a few haunting slow turners ("Stones Throw Away" is one of the finest morning-after-whiskey-revels tunes ever) but the predominant vibe, from the "1, 2, 3" count-off and kick drum smack that opens the album through acres of sound advice for lonely, wounded folks wondering how they're gonna face another day, another lover or another disappointment, is meaty, rough edged rock. Unflinching and funny, Easton gets under blue collars not unlike Patterson Hood, though with less overt gravel and more Jerry Lee Lewis skip on this outing. As fine as his earlier, folksier efforts have been, there's no denying the beefiness these more band-oriented settings give his music. Maybe like Todd Snider, Easton is ready to move on from the "one guy with a guitar under the spotlight telling stories" thing. Whatever path he chooses, he's clearly got top-notch material and bountiful gifts in getting it across.

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[Published on: 6/19/09]

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