Contemporary Folk/Rocker Tim Easton has been driven westward both geographically and musically since his college days in Ohio. On his 5th album, Porcupine, due out April 28th from New West Records, the Joshua Tree, CA resident returns to his mid-western sound and lets a myriad of guitar riffs rooted in blues, rock, and folk set the color for observational lyrics capturing life from the desert to the sea and around the world. The new album finds Tim's writing skills sharpened, possibly inspired by his friend and mentor Lucinda Williams. Easton, known for his non-stop touring (from Dublin to Anchorage to Bangor to Jacksonville), will be on the road with a band, supporting Porcupine beginning this Spring, including a stop in Austin, TX where Tim will appear at several events during the South By Southwest convention, including the New West Records day party, Pop Culture Press party, Ground Control Touring showcase and the Sin City Social Club party (dates below.)
Porcupine cover artFor Porcupine, Tim went back to Alex The Great and Club Roar studios in Nashville to work with Brad Jones and Robin Eaton who produced his debut album, Special 20. He wanted to "make some noise and get that jagged, midwestern rock and roll sound again" so he hand-picked the Ohio-based rhythm section - Sam Brown on drums (Gaunt, New Bomb Turks, RJD2) and Matt Surgeson on bass and backing vocals (Matt also played on Special 20). Renowned guitarist Kenny Vaughn, who Tim met playing in Lucinda's band for her Car Wheels tour, played second guitar.
Porcupine visits the rough edged and electric side of Tim's recordings, although it's an acoustic track that provides the record's shiniest moment in the pop-folk jangle of "Seventh Wheel." Tim wrote the song in as much time as it takes to sing it while staying at friend's house in Dublin, and the band demanded that he record it for the album after hearing the demo he made in Ireland. As for the title Porcupine, Tim explains "I thought the physical animal called the porcupine was a perfect symbol for the sound of this record in that it appears to be a gentle and harmless creature from a distance but up close it is in fact sharp and potentially dangerous."
Tim has released three critically acclaimed albums on New West thus far: The Truth About Us (2001), Break Your Mother's Heart (2003) and Ammunition (2006). He has toured with label mates John Hiatt and The Flatlanders, as well as with The Jayhawks and Lucinda Williams. Living in the village of Joshua Tree between tours has made more time available for other creative endeavours such as painting and writing. "There's not much else to do out here," Tim remarked, "so going for long hikes with my dogs or making music, paintings, and stories is what fills my average day at home." There will be an exhibition of Tim's paintings, which are folk art based pieces that focus on the guitar, at Yard Dog Gallery in Austin during this year's SXSW conference. A series of 500 individually painted vinyl album jackets will be part of the Porcupine release, and the New West CD release will feature Tim's art on the cover.
He is also the founder and publisher of a community newsletter and 'zine called The Joshua Tree Republic.