Image courtesy of The Timbers
We’ve been eagerly anticipating this Greet The Sun EP from The Timbers at Timber & Steel. I mentioned it in the profile I published on them in December last year, so it’s been quite a while coming for the 4 piece South Australian folk act, who have been whetting our appetites with constant gigging throughout Adelaide in particular.
When I opened the package that I received in the mail containing my copy of the CD, I was immediately excited by what confronted me. The front cover, simple though it is, is perfectly suitable, but when I flipped it over and found the track listing, memories came flooding back to me of all these great songs I’ve seen live but haven’t been able to take home with me.
Sometimes when I want to write about a release, I’ll put it on repeat for a couple of hours, or until I get sick of it. Sure, it’s a fairly hefty method, but I figure if you know something well enough to get sick of it, you know it well enough to write about it. Then I publish the article, give the CD a rest for a while, and soon I’ll be ready to continue listening to it whenever. I did this for Greet The Sun and iTunes has my play-count at 17 for each track, which when added together, nearly totals 6 hours of listening over the last 2 days. The only thing is; I’m not sick of it yet.
The EP begins with the longest track on the release, “Creeping Shade”. Like the majority of The Timbers‘ songs, this one has un underlying traditional Irish sound, but penetrating through it, to a much greater extent than usual, is an element of distinctly Australian-folk. This song would not be out of place on a Paul Kelly album, and its thoughtful lyricism is a welcome contrast to some more light-hearted songs, such as the next one- “Let Your Hair Down”. The song is about exactly what it sounds like- letting loose, and boasts a fantastically fitting composition for the subject. This song has always been a particular favourite of mine. The powerful short, sharp blasts of chords throughout the verses, the quick moving guitar picking and vocal delivery leading into the chorus, and then the tandem acoustic guitar and violin riff throughout it all culminates into a brilliant crowd-mover. It’s laced with little features like articulated percussion flares, the harmonious group chorus, and of course the short reprise, that just add that touch of class to take the track past the quality that you would realistically expect from a local act.
“This Scar” is another playful track. Whilst, the song sounds like a lot of fun to play, I’m less fond of the track compared to the rest of the EP. Like the other songs- it is well recorded and mixed. I don’t know when the bar was raised with local recordings, but it seems as if more and more acts are getting it right- which The Timbers certainly did. But watching them live, you always knew they would. Even their live performance recordings on Radio Adelaide were practically studio-quality (see video below). The following track “The Traveller” is, again, simple in its idea and lyricism. Halfway through the song, you think it’s going to be a cute little fable about trust and naivety, before it slows into a group chorus of murder and revenge in true pre-war American folk fashion (“She stood me up so I’ll shoot her down”), which is then followed by an uplifting key change and tempo restoration while The Timbers unashamedly celebrate by singing “Now I stand up and she lies down, 6 feet underground. I never cried, no-more will she ride with my cash, my ticket and my pride!”
Could a folk act really release an EP without a ballad? Well, The Timbers go close. Their song “All Your Say”- a song of optimism for the New-Year- is probably the closest they come. It’s short, begins slow and moves into a quicker violin decorated arrangement, but somehow retains that ballad-like quality. The title track of the EP, and last song on the CD, “Greet The Sun”, is my favourite song from The Timbers. Like the previous song, it starts slow, but this song moves so gradually into its epic climax that you hardly notice it’s happening. The track is perfect- from the left to right vocal-fade of the verse to the continuation of the vocal melody throughout the bridge with layers of violins and guitars until it finally reaches the point where the group chorus joins, enlisting the vocal talents from locals including members of Matt Reiner & The Aunt Sallys and The Thieves.
The Timbers’ EP launch, featuring Bearded Gypsy Band and Sworn Brothers (The Thieves acoustic), at The Promethean sold out, which, for Adelaide, is quite an achievement. Like their support acts, they’ve created a reputation for themselves as coming-together of traditional and contemporary folk influences that people just can’t help but move to. The Timbers are back on the road again touring Tasmania and Victoria, so make sure you take the opportunity to see them if you’re in or around the areas they’re travelling through. Full tour dates are below.
Friday 8th April – Tapas Lounge Bar, Devonport, Tasmania
Saturday 9th April – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart, Tasmania
Sunday 10th April Brookfield Winery, Margate, Tasmania
Tuesday 12th April – The Esplanade Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria
Wednesday 13th April – Retreat Hotel, Brunswick, Victoria
Thursday 14th April – Great Britain Hotel, Richmond, Victoria
Sunday 17th April – Old Mt Gambier Gaol, Mt Gambier, SA