Tim Easton – “Find Your Way” [Video]

Few poets follow their own arrow as devotedly as Tim Easton, whose songwriting career has woven in and out of folk music and rock ‘n’ roll, of erstwhile bands and solo songwriting, of his birthplace of America and all the other places he’s called home. Whether surviving as a busker in Paris and Prague, living and working on both US coasts, touring relentlessly through remote Alaska or recording with some of the most famous sidemen in rock history, Easton has followed his inspiration to every point on the map.

As an upstart three decades ago, Easton’s vision of melding folk tradition with a little rock ‘n’ roll preceded the music scene his records might fit into today, known widely now as Americana. Like all the greats of the genre, his music serves, simply, as medium and purpose for his storytelling. Keen listeners will hear the threads between Easton and the ultimate storyteller, John Prine, who instructed Easton to write his own songs at a chance encounter in the late ‘90s. (After Prine’s death, Easton penned the gentle tribute “Voice on the Radio” for 2021’s You Don’t Really Know Me.)

Easton’s songs are sonic films that mirror our relationships, where he banks on his own life to embellish in the blanks. With its bedrock of depicting universal human experiences and a mild disregard for genre, his catalog has an air of timelessness, which may explain why tracks from his early records Special 20 and Not Cool come in as requests at his shows even now. Both albums, long out of print, were reissued late last year to appease those diehard fans between concerts.

Now, though, Easton’s lens is fixed on a particular one of his homes away from home, the birthplace of his mother and many of his dearest friends. Find Your Way, out in May 2024 via Black Mesa Records, was recorded, mixed and mastered in Canada with an all-Canadian crew of studio musicians: Geoff Hicks (Colin James, Barney Bentall), Jeremy Holmes (Steve Dawson), Jeanne Tolmie, Ryland Moranz and Tyler Lieb (both play with Leeroy Stagger).

Produced at Neighborhood Recorders in Victoria BC by Stagger, a longtime collaborator and one-third of folk supergroup Easton Stagger Phillips, the album zigs and zags through the geography so intrinsic to Easton’s storytelling. This makes the so-called “one-of-a-kindland” topography of Victoria the perfect setting for the new tracks. Find Your Way is full of explorations of turmoil and resolution, of troubled relationships viewed from the outside—and within. Easton calls the songs “feature films inside three-minute chunks of music.”

“Little Brother,” for example, is modeled after a Stephen King film by way of a Springsteen tune, opening on a decidedly non-autobiographical depiction of a family dealing with the fallout of addiction. “By the End of the Night” resulted from Easton giving himself a writerly prompt, in want of a simple, direct love song. And “Find Your Way,” the record’s title track, is what he calls a “cautionary tale with a pinch of hope,” detailing his hindsight of a near-miss tragedy after a long-ago recording session with Austin’s Band of Heathens.

Easton’s career has entrenched him in the company of multiple generations of musical greats, both in support and at the helm. He’s guested on albums by Lucinda Williams and Cory Branan. He’s made his own records with most of Wilco, Mike Campbell, Jim Keltner and Aaron Lee Tasjan.

Between rigorous tours, with upcoming dates scheduled in locales as far-flung as Alaska and Spain, Easton is also a published poet, an essayist and a songwriting teacher. Humbly, he says he’s a “decent observer” of humankind and the ups and downs of our behavior, and he’s always looking for new ways—and new places—to tell our stories for us.

Tim Easton Links: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Spotify / You Tube / X / Black Mesa Records

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Fire Note Staff

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