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Tim & Myles Thompson

Time4Me2Go – 2013 (Hidden Giant)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Tim & Myles Thompson

There have been some unusual pairings in music and this Tim and Myles Thompson belongs in that bin. This is a father (Tim) and son duo playing guitar (Tim) and fiddle, both singing. That's it. Their promotional material describes it, in part, as "singer-songwriter" and "world" music. Keep those definitions handy. They'll be useful the next time you need to describe music that won't fit into any pigeonhole, even loosely defined ones like "Americana."

The duo did not feel bound by strictures of musical discipline. These adept musicians took a fairly heavy dose of country, stirred in some jazz and sprinkled it with some folk and created their own style. You can judge Tim Thompson's guitar playing ability listening to Time For Me To Go, including a keening sound that first comes off as special effects, but is provided by Myles Thompson's fiddle. Overdrive, the only composition by the son, has some intricate playing by both, including some phrases played as a note-for-note duet.

With Overdrive as the lone exception, Tim Thompson composed or co-composed all the music, including This Town, an ode to saving a town that's seen its better day. His co-composer for this number was Cactus Moser, husband of Wynonna Judd and founding member of Highway 101. Work at listening to the lyrics to get beyond the basic direction of the song that's provided in the chorus, partly because the thought process isn't as simple and direct as, say, classic country or bluegrass, but partly because of the music. The power of the instruments drives the CD, putting lyrics in the back seat.

They get jazzy with the instrumental Cat Tastrophy. Instrumentals are especially compelling because there are no lyrics to get in the way of their playing. Two numbers that seem to be autobiographical are Being Me, which says just what the title indicates (I like being me) and I'm Gonna Live, which is more reflective than most of the other numbers, but also advances the theme that the composer is going to live his life without being constrained by the bounds most people face.

The quality of musicianship is unquestionable, but this package isn't for everyone. There isn't likely to be any middle ground: you'll either love it or toss it on a shelf and forget it, but you need to listen to figure it out.