Tim Grimm had not intended to write and release another album of songs in 2020-2021, but that was before the world turned upside down, and masks and social distancing became the norm….before concerts and theaters were shuttered… before the weight of cultural and social anxiety became seemingly unbearable under the dark veil of a Trump presidency. Grimm has often felt that all songs are either love songs -or political songs…. And in times like these, for him, they are often one and the same.
In eight tracks, Grimm’s album GONE reflects on dreams past and present, and on personal and community loss. As a collection of songs, it weaves deftly between the simple clarity of a songwriter’s observation and a use of metaphor that is at once both uncomplicated and beguiling. A DREAM starts things off as it builds with a lush string arrangement (compliments of Diederik van Wassenaer), and Grimm immediately conveys that dreams- like time- can serve as markers of both the past and present- the consistent and the elusive, as well as the shadows of what may yet come. CARRY US AWAY strips away the sonic landscape into finger-picked guitar and banjo with a haunting harmonica. It is a bittersweet love song of ache and melancholy, and it feels timeless. CADILLAC HEARSE picks things up with a rollicking tale of an unforgettable ride through rural North Carolina in the 60’s, and 25 TREES displays Grimm’s gifts of simple observation with lists of books and trees made all the more relevant in this time of the pandemic. LAUREL PEARL and JOSEPH CROSS are both songs of loss— two very different sides of the same coin. Laurel was just a young girl from Plymouth, MA, while Joseph was an old Indian brought to life from the pen of Grimm’s friend, the deceased Eric Taylor (another victim of 2020). For this song, Grimm enlists Taylor’s widow- Susan- to sing harmonies, and friends James Gilmer (percussion) and Marco Feccio (electric guitar) who both played and recorded with Eric.
Grimm released the title track as a single last fall and it rose quickly to become the number 1 Song of 2020 on the Folk DJ charts. GONE was also nominated as Song of the Year in the International Folk Alliance Awards 2021.
Closing out the album is Grimm’s most recent composition- DREAMING OF KING LEAR. 2020 saw the loss of not only John Prine (referenced in GONE), but also Eric Taylor and Michael Smith and David Olney. These three master songwriters were all inspirations for Grimm, and over the years he had hosted them in concerts in Indiana, appeared on stages and festivals with them, and co-toured parts of the states or Europe. These are voices and spirits that were unique and will be sorely missed in the folk music world.
Grimm’s family is once again at the heart of this musical outing. Wife, Jan, supplies vocal harmonies and harmonica, as well as co-writes on 2 songs…. son Connor’s bass anchors many of these tunes…. And son, Jackson plays a fine banjo, guitar and mandolin— that weave their way through many of the songs.