This week, I return to the theme of fellow musicians, whose path I have crossed, or, Camino-like, are on the journey like me. The first is Tim Cameron, aka T.C. Folkpunk.
I met Tim for the first time when he worked at a local guitar shop. He was always the person I preferred to see for good counsel and and even just to chat. During those visits, I discovered he was also a performer (a guy working at a music store that also played—what gives?) and started checking out his shows.
At first it puzzled me that a guy belting out songs strictly on an electrical guitar would not work with a band, but I was soon enlightened as I discovered that Tim was a rare breed of performers working in that mode, Billy Bragg perhaps the most well known internationally.
The format Tim plays in, like folk, allows the lyrics to shine through, and he is a master at witty, thoughtful, socially astute, and sometimes cutting compositions. And sometimes just fun and clever too. A favourite of mine is Here Crumbles the Bride, with it’s Dylanesque (Bob) jolting and absurdist imagery. Musically, his songs have a deceptively simple power pop feel, but if you know something about music, and watch and listen to the chord changes more closely, as I did last week when he played the Linsmore, one appreciates T.C. knows his craft.
Any guy who can include kangaroos in the lyrics is okay with me.
Tim has also found another voice in the movies, composing songs AND playing a major character in Love in the Sixth, an independent musical comedy released in 2015 directed by Jude Klassen.
T.C. Folk punk’s latest collection is Hearsay is 20/20, available through his site or directly at Bandcamp, and is getting airplay not just here in Canada but around the world. Here is Tim talking about that and one featured song:
Hearsay Is 20/20 has been doing really well, with airplay in Spain, Sweden, and of course Canada. I’m expecting to get some airplay in Columbia, New Zealand, USA and the UK within the next week or two as well.
I know everybody’s really busy, and trying to absorb a whole album can be a lot to ask these days, so I thought I’d send out a quick email that focuses on just one song. A measly two-minutes-and-three-seconds worth of tuneage.
The featured track in question is Sort Of Like Danielle. It started life as three separate song bits, all of which were in different keys. I tried lining the pieces up in the same key, but that meant that some parts were either to high or two low for me to sing. So I thought stuff it, the song can just modulate all over the place, because that will be cheaper than singing lessons… As a result, “Danielle” is in the key of E.
And then F#.
And then G for a bit.
And then back to E where the whole ride starts over again.
Anyway, you can give it a listen (and also buy it if you’re so inclined…) on Bandcamp right about HERE.
I was working on it around the time I dove into production on Love In The Sixth, so there are a lot of filmic illusions floating around in the lyrics (you can read those lyrics on the Bandcamp page too, by the way).
Two minutes and three seconds. You better get dancing or you might miss it!
Tim is probably the most original performer I know, and as you look through the back catalogue on his site, one of the most consistently dedicated to his art. Unique is a cliché, but in a while, it needs to be dusted off and correctly applied. With T.C. Folkpunk, it fits.
The flip side of that is the cover band, sometimes seen less favourably by “real musicians”—just Google it. This view is wrong-headed (I am using my nice words). I have spent the large part of his musical life performing covers, and still enjoy playing them. The fact that FatC doesn’t play any (something that is NOT carved in stone) is a choice I made for this specific band and comes with its own pluses (creative expression) and minuses (few people know the songs). For now, I enjoy the challenge of seeing with songs stick with the audience, as this helps develop my craft. That does not preclude playing them in another context, as I did last summer.
With that in mind, last night, the missus and I went out late to the entertainment district at a club called UG3 to meet with #1 daughter, and see her boyfriend’s band The Lonely Hearts.
First of all, let me say we were by far the oldest people in the place. The place was packed with young, healthy, and progressively drunker 20-somethings, many more than FatC have ever had in any audience, and all were having a great time. When the band came on at about 11:30, they immediately packed the dance floor with mostly vintage covers of rock and Motown classics, delivered with a solid raw edge sound and energy that unified the set. All the kids in the audience knew the words too. Rock is NOT dead.
I really like these guys. They play good solid stuff, their audience loves it, and obviously so do they. The band is fronted by Omar Saab on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Omar has great range and expression, and a healthy growl, reminiscent of Bryan Adams at times. Dave McCamus complements by singing solid backups, and playing biting lead on what looked like either a rare or modified version of a Gibson Melody Maker. Graeme Moffatt is a delight on bass, freely running Entwistle-style through the chordal changes with a melodic style steeped in the rock style of the 60s and 70s. Regular drummer Curtis Courtemanche unavailable for last night’s show, but luckily Murph Stone sat in. He clearly knew the songs and delivered them well, and looked like he was enjoying himself too.
Omar tells me that they are at the Cameron House this Friday, February 3. I am planning to be there and I hope some of you can join me.
Until then, be well!