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Tim Easton

Special 20 – 1999 (Heathen)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Tim Easton

This debut release is indeed special, although it's only 10 tracks. The title refers to a model of harmonica, which Haynes' Boy Tim Easton skillfully puts to use in the opening "Just Like Home," sounding like a cross between plugged-in era Bob Dylan and Steve Earle.

Easton explores a variety of styles and influences throughout, but the common thread is the excellence of the songwriting, all by Easton. There are some rocking tunes, such as the aforementioned "Just Like Home" and "Torture Comes to Mind," which rocks with the best of the alterna-country-rock canon. Easton quickly switches gears to the beautiful, mandolin-laced acoustic numbers, "Troublesome Kind" and "All The Pretty Girls Leave Town," which are more reminiscent of groups like Wilco or The Jayhawks. Then the heavily electric, feedback-drenched "Everywhere is Somewhere" hits the listener with that much more pronounced effect, especially with the pedal steel ringing through the wall of sound. Kudos to Bonepony's Tramp and Al Perkins on mandolin and pedal steel, respectively.

The best things about this release are Easton's storytelling and his mastery of a variety of sounds; it's like a sampler of the entire alt.-country genre, all by one artist. (Heathen, Box 82341, Columbus, OH 43202,