This review originally appeared in somewhat different form on
The Green Man Review. Copyright 2002. Reprinted with permission.
A sometime actor whose film career (he has appeared in films like Clear and Present Danger, generally as an authority figure) has been doing so well, before
Heart Land, Tim Grimm had not recorded an album in over eight years.
It was worth the wait.
Heart Land, a title as simple as it is a complete definition of its contents, is an amazing portrait. Grimm's music seems to have a life of its own.
Grimm describes himself on his Web site as a "singer-songwriter, actor, hay-farmer" and from the first track--the classic-in-the-making "Better Days"--I was transported to a place where people still make their living from the land and through hard backbreaking work. A place where small events have drastic consequences, where the little people still suffer the effects of government action. Although his sentiments run a little heavy-handed at times (as in "South of the Border"), the genuine feeling of struggle and the strong emotion Grimm has for his subjects are such that a little melodrama can be easily forgiven.
Heart Land is easily the best album I've heard all year. It's an album of beauty, an album of pain, and an album that filled me with wonder. It's one of those albums that comes along once in a blue moon that make you trip all over yourself trying to find new words for "magnificent" and "wonderful." It brings emotions up in me that I thought music would never bring up again, emotions I am hard pressed to find words for, save that they are sometimes almost overwhelmingly strong. And an album that can make me feel that way--whether I enjoy the feeling or not--is an album of which I am in awe.
Tim Grimm writes about characters, meaning to say that he often writes in character, barring a statement about his recent time spent in Hollywood ("Too Hard Drivin'"). But that does not take away from the personal touch of the music. Each song is a picture of a small event. In "She Remembers," (my favorite) a widow's children want her to move into town and she reminisces about her past life, only three months gone:
She remembers all that went before
She remembers laughing, running through the corn
She remembers every baby being born
And him holding her late at night dancing across the floor
Though I am thankfully unfamiliar with the situation, I can feel every ounce of pain in this woman, and I think that is a tribute to Grimm's use of words and music to sculpt art from sound. I immediately thought of Johnny Cash's work, past and present, but that does not give Grimm his due. He is a purely original songwriter with insight that escapes the more pedestrian of his ilk.
TIM GRIMM: Heart Land
Named 2000's "Best Discovery" in roots/Americana music by the Chicago Sun-Times, "his
rich, expressive vocals put him among the best in the genre." true country-folk.
TIM GRIMM: Coyote's Dream
True roots-americana. masterful storyteller- award-winning songwriter with a rich, original voice that's been compared to the greats-- Cash, Haggard, Springsteen to name a few...
TIM GRIMM: Amber Waves
A smooth blend of country-folk, songs and instumentals
Click on the links above to purchase any of the items mentioned, or
Search CD Baby to find what you like.
(Or just email me and let me know what you think.)