Tim Gartland – Satisfied
Taste Good Music
10 songs – 38 minutes
Satisfied is Tim Gartland’s first release since 2017’s If You Want A Good Woman (which was warmly reviewed in the 04 January 2017 issue of Blues Blast Magazine). And the good news is that Satisfied follows in the same impressive style as its predecessor, with a collection of 10 sharply-written original songs, a crack band, and sparkling production by Kevin McKendree at The Rock House in Franklin, TN.
Gartland sings in a deep bass voice that recalls Charlie Musselwhite’s hard-lived timbre, although his song-writing style is closer to the wry, tongue-in-cheek story-telling of Delbert McClinton. Like McClinton, Gartland’s songs mix blues with soul, roots rock and country influences. He also plays fine harmonica but he lays down the solos sparingly, thus increasing their impact. He also cleverly mixes up the use of Chromatic, 10 and 12 hole Diatonic and bass harps throughout the album.
The songs themselves are smartly-constructed with clever lyrics that often contain quick-witted word play and unusual half-rhymes. In the rocking opening track, “Drinking For Two”, Gartland bemoans the loss of a girlfriend with the repeated refrain: “Mr Bartender, I need me some elbow room. I’m a party of one but I’m drinking for two” while in the Chuck Berry-esque rock and roll of “Can’t Paint A Prettier Picture”, he swears that not even Michaelangelo (“at his best”), Raphael or Leonardo Da Vinci could paint a picture as pretty as his woman is in real life. In the gentle, country-ish title track, he memorably skewers the pastimes of his risk-taking friends when all Gartland wants to do is play the blues with his friends, drink the occasional glass of Scotch and walk his dog. “You seek all the thrills you can stand. You jump from a bridge tied only to a rubber band… You can tell me all the reasons you sky-drive, but why jump from a plane that’s flying right? … We all got to meet the Grim Reaper some day, but I have no plans to meet him half-way.” But Gartland isn’t just being erudite in his song-writing. A song like “Artifacts” is a genuinely moving testament to lost love.
Gartland’s band is similar to that on If You Want A Good Woman, with Jack Bruno on drums, Steve Mackey on bass, Tom West and Kevin McKendree on piano and organ (West’s piano on “Satisfied” is outstanding) and Robert Frahm on lead and rhythm guitars. Tom Britt lays down some beautiful slide guitar on “Drinking For Two” and “Artifacts” and Wendy Moten provides sumptuous backing vocals that really lift a number of songs, including the soul-blues of “Don’t Make More Trouble” and “Blues For Free” and the reggae-lite of “Why Does The Room Begin To Sway?” Ray Desilvis adds powerful backing vocals to the one-chord grind of “Walk On”.
If you like your blues laid-back and soaked in Southern sensibilities, you will love Satisfied. Great songs, great playing, great production: Satisfied is a very enjoyable release indeed.