Townsville’s Tim Griffin has made quite a name for himself in the Blues and Roots scene: he’s supported the likes of Tim Friedman, Jeff Martin, The Black Sorrows, Russell Morris, James Reyne, Blue King Brown and more; and with his gravelly, New Orleans-style of vocals it’s easy to be drawn into his musical storytelling.
But Tim’s newest album, The Outlaw Sessions, Volume 1, will take the musician in a new direction, seeking more of a swampy, country sound.
“I did a track on my last album, Shake Ya Hoodoo, which was a track called God Will Cut You Down, made famous by Johnny Cash,” said Tim.
“Out of all the songs on that album, when I listened back to it, that was the one that seemed to have something about it that the others didn’t and I thought ‘I’ve actually got a few of these sort of songs up my sleeve’.”
Tim’s new album has been recorded at Townsville’s Lonesome Belle Music, initially as a test-run for studio owner Joel Sutton’s new gear.
“Joel wanted to use me as a guinea pig and he said ‘Have you got a song we can work on just to get everything up and running?’” Tim recalls. “We recorded the single The Valley of the Gun and from there I realised this guy was really, really good at what he does – when we heard the end result, I said ‘How about I put a crowdfunding thing together and we try and make a record?’, with the thoughts of doing that darker sort of country stuff. It flowed really well, and the songs were written quite quickly; they’re definitely my strongest work so far.”
Tim has penned all the tracks on the album himself, drawing much of the inspiration from old Western films.
“There’s a lot of relationship stuff on there, but there’s also a lot of murder and revenge and hangings and bordellos,” Tim said.
“If you think of Nick Cave or Johnny Cash and some of their darker stuff, it’s like that. It’s not obscene or vulgar, but each song has its own little story line and I just joined them up as I imagined little snippets of Western, John Wayne kind of movies; and those really gritty story lines.
“The other thing we really tried to do with the record is have quite a cinematic feel, so some of the soundscapes we’ve created really lend themselves to movie soundtracks. Hopefully we can build some interest for that kind of stuff – some of it’s a bit Tarantinoesque and a bit quirky.”
While the album is being mastered in the USA, Tim has taken the opportunity to work with a lot of homegrown talent including Australian Blues and Roots artists he admires, and several other Townsville locals.
“I ended up with a guy named Shane Pacey who’s very well known with his work with a band called the Bondi Cigars, they’ve been around for a long time, they’re a blues act performing here, there and everywhere. He was a hero of mine as a songwriter and guitar player and I sent him one of the demos from the album early in the process to get his opinion and he asked me if he could play on it. Then from there it evolved to us co-writing a couple of songs together.
“We also had Tammy Moxon and Kendall Daines from Townsville do the backing vocals and in some ways that gives the album a lot of legitimacy – they’ve been singing together their whole lives, they’ve come through the country music ranks and they can really sing. They are world class together when they’re harmonising. I’m very proud and blown away by what they’ve brought to it.”
Tim Griffin’s The Outlaw Sessions, Volume 1, will be officially launched on 10 May 2018 with a Launch Party at Otto’s Alley. For more information, click here.