Tim Walsh, also known as TW Walsh, is a family man. When I first spoke to Tim he was at the Museum of Science with his wife and two kids getting ready to see a show at the planetarium. Yet while family may come first, music is always a close second. So in the summer of 2006 when his family moved from the Seattle area to Boston, he decided to resurrect his new solo outfit, The Soft Drugs.
Tim is originally from the Boston area. He moved out to Seattle about four or five years ago where he was tapped on the shoulder to release some solo work –
How We Spend Our Days (1999) and Blue Laws (2001).
He also spent time touring and playing with David Bazan’s former band, Pedro the Lion. But when Pedro the Lion broke up Tim decided that he would start on some new material. This time, instead of using his solo moniker, he decided on a band name, The Soft Drugs. After a few gigs, some studio work, Tim, his wife and two kids, decided to move back east.
Instead of throwing up his hands and deciding to focus on a regular day job, Tim decided not to go cold turkey on the ‘Drugs and within a few months he had a crew of musicians ready to play by his side.
The Soft Drugs came out with a five song EP, In Moderation, back in June of 2006. They followed up the EP with a single called “Family of Four”. They also recorded a track which was featured on a 2007 Christmas compilation that was put together by Hard to Find a Friend. All proceeds from the purchase of the comp went to Toys for Tots. Included on the comp are Death Cab for Cutie, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, The Long Winters, American Music Club, Rosie Thomas, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin and a few others.
Their first ever live show came on the night of November 28th, 2007 at TT the Bears Place. The entire 8 song set can be found for download through their website. Thanks to Brad from Bradley’s Almanac for the impeccable sound quality.
Not only can you download the show but you can also download all the songs from their EP and the single, “Family of Four”. Tim uses the Creative Commons license to protect his artistic creations. The only song not available for download is the song recorded for the Christmas album.
So now that we know Tim is a very giving artist, how does his music sound? To put it simply, it’s classic Americana rock. At times his vocals conjure up Neil Youngesque pitches. He plays behind the kit and sings all the songs but every member in the band sings backup. The members of the band are Michael Murray, John Beck III, Kenneth Maiuri, Jason Cammarata and Tim himself.
His songs have the basic themes – religion, friendship, drug abuse. Most of the time the lyrics are a stream of concouisness but often times the story or theme of the song is based on a family member, friend or his own experiences. For example, “Don’t Sweat It”, is about a young man in his mid-20’s who gets a job at the corner store so he “doesn’t look like a jerk”. He sleeps in late and walks to work. But his dire straits all come crashing down as he stands on the side of the road, fixing a flat on the car that his parents gave to him. It’s a story we’ve all seen or have experienced ourselves. When you’re in a rut sometimes it takes a series of wrong turns to help you realize it’s time to get off your ass and make something of your life.
Besides his usual influences (N. Young, The Band, Steely Dan), I asked Tim what were some of his current favorite listens. Today Tim is enjoying the new album by the Fiery Furnaces, Window City. He has decided to give the ever so active Ryan Adams a shot and has been really into his new album, Tiger Beat. Wilco’s, Sky Blue Sky, while not well received by die hards, has found a place in Tim’s iPod rotation (here’s to more Nels Cline guitar solos). He’s really pumped for Leonard Cohen to get back out on the road and Daniel Lanois’s new project, Hear Is What Is, is on his radar.
With a full line up now set in stone, Tim is planning to record a full length album in the spring of 2008. They are currently looking for a horn section for the recording so if you’re a Boston based horn player, give them a shout on their myspace page.
When Tim isn’t sitting down making really great music, he’s working as a software programmer and also has his own CD mastering service (Learn more about this service at myspace.com/twwaslhmastering.
They plan to release the album in the summer of 2008. Currently, it’s up in the air whether it will be released on an independent label or via his current Creative License agreement for free.
So take note Bostonians, there is a new drug finding its way into our pubs and clubs. Its effects are a pulsing vibe, two tapping feet and a bobbing head. But don’t fret, we have the inside scoop on where you can get your fix. The next live ‘Drugs show is March 8th at PJ Ryan’s in Somerville, MA and then at The Red Door in Portsmouth, NH on March 17th. Further down the road you can catch them at Oxfam Cafe at Tufts opening up for John Vanderslice on April 7th.
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about new music in cities.