For over twenty years, Tim Easton has been successfully combining elements of indie rock, folk and a little bit a blues to create his own genre that also consistently adds excellent songwriting and tons of heart to round out his musical ingredients. Easton is now on his tenth LP, You Don’t Really Know Me, and the new material finds Tim pushing himself forward with a new outlook on life. It is an album that was mostly written during the 2020 quarantine and has a positive vibe as Easton recovers from dealing with a vice, consistent touring, divorce and all the messy things that go along with those life stressors.
What might completely break some artists, Easton’s positive focus forward rises up and shines on You Don’t Really Know Me. His drive not only is the underlining glue that holds the album together but makes this record one of the best in his career so far. The title track kicks the album off with a foot tapping beat and you will immediately hear the results of Tim returning back to days of recording his vocals alongside a band. The song jumps out of your speakers and your ears tune into every line as Easton’s slightly weathered vocals glow with warmth. On “Speed Limit,” Easton has some great lines that drive the folk-rock track and make you think like “just because I got out of the rain doesn’t mean I won’t still get wet” and the chorus “when the pain of staying the same outweighs the strain of making changes.” This kind of songwriting should be an expectation at this point in Easton’s career but not only does he meet it here on You Don’t Really Know Me – he exceeds it.
This new album is bigger, bolder and catchy as hell. Paco & The Melodic Polaroids (2018) was an excellent album but it was recorded direct to lacquer and it is a pure acoustic guitar, harmonica and story experience. You Don’t Really Know Me is probably his best “band” album since his New West Records days and Porcupine (2009). His cleared head yields great songs with a high replay value that is an easy 32 minutes of listening. I have always felt that Tim Easton was one song away from being a bigger name and once again he has produced 10 tracks on You Don’t Really Know Me that could still make it happen!
Key Tracks: “You Don’t Really Know Me” / “Speed Limit” / “Festival Song”
Artists With Similar Fire: Jason Isbell / Leeroy Stagger / Patterson Hood
Tim Easton Review History: Paco & The Melodic Polaroids (2018) / American Fork (2016) / Haynes Boys: “ST” (2015) / Easton Stagger Phillips: Resolution Road (2014) / Not Cool (2013) / Before The Revolution: The Best Of 1998-2011 (2013)
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony