When I met Tim Brown sometime in 2005 or 2006, Blood Root Mother had a small shack we rehearsed in located in our drummer Brandon’s backyard. With a crudely painted rainbow emanating from one of the sides, we called it the Rainbow Shack. We played loud, loud music in there, then we had little parties. This is where I met Tim Brown, I think he spilled some beer in there.
Tim is a creative and eclectic musician with a flair for visual design. Or maybe he is a designer with a flair for music. In fact, I’m not sure if he is a finer musician or graphic artist. He has designed two album covers for me, and illustrated the cover of the guitar method book that I wrote and will hopefully someday publish.
On the musical side of things he has always struck me as unique, intellectual, and painfully romantic—in a good way.
“I always shoot for music that is emotionally evocative but that doesn’t dredge up any sour nostalgia,” Tim explains. “I think that’s probably one of the main components I’d say that informs my melodic and song-writing sensibility.”
It wasn’t until 2011, while Tim was recording his Tim Brown and Friends album, that I really worked with him, despite having known him for five years.
He had me write and record some banjo parts for several tracks on the CD. It was a large collaboration of musicians including Elliot Weiner of Blood Root, and Alex Hertogs, with whom I performed in The Plainsmen. Some of the songs I featured on include “Smoke From Grandpa’s Pipe” and “Amazing Grace”.
Aside from playing banjo, Tim had me record a laughably bad spoken-word quotation from a Jack Kerouac novel. He also had me sing a two part harmony with him on “Slow Down”, an odd song better heard than described.
(Tip: You might want headphones if your co-workers or people with sensitive ears are nearby. I leave it to Tim to illuminate the details.)
Tim’s most recent project was Twin Sisters, written and recorded alongside Jeremy Lunde. Though slightly more focused, it was another eclectic album.
“Jeremy and I sought out to make music with an ‘old soul’,” Tim tells me. “We are big fans of classic psychedelic rock and we take a lot of inspiration from songs that have that sensibility even if they were created recently. This album was the first project I was part of that had a consistent string of songs that seemed to be part of a whole.”
As with all of Tim’s projects, Twin Sisters was a labour of love; created at the whims and desires of the artists, no compromises of creativity except those which can occur between a working duo.
“Throughout the process of creating and recording these songs, there were times when we didn’t want to practice or were a bit tired during recording,” says Tim. “But pushing through and getting the takes we needed are totally worth it, if not just for the memories—and these tracks we can remember those times with.”
While some of the music was lifted from pieces and ideas that had been brewing for years, some were more spontaneous, such as the seriously bluesy and moody “Good Stories We Can Never Tell”.
“We wrote it almost entirely in the studio around the stand-up bass part.”
About Robert Leo Newton
Robert Leo Newton is a singer-songwriter, music teacher, and recording artist from the Twin Cities. He is a fourteen year veteran of the indie progressive rock scene. (Read more…)
(Robert Leo Newton, 2015)