Tiny Legs Tim – Elsewhere Bound
Sing My Title
10 songs – 44 minutes
Tiny Legs Tim (née Tim De Graeve) is a Belgian singer/songwriter/guitarist and Elsewhere Bound is his fifth studio album. His previous release, Melodium Rag, was a stripped-back acoustic affair. Elsewhere Bound, while still having moments of raw acoustic intimacy, also features a large band on many of the tracks. The overall result is a very engaging collection of modern blues numbers, often underpinned by a variety of Mississippi grooves and influences, but all of which have a distinctively novel vibe.
Opening with the punchy title track, a horn-driven upbeat number, Tim’s subtly repetitive acoustic slide lick under the verses provides the song with real impetus. This is followed by “One More Chance”, which opens with just a vocal melody being echoed by a single note Son House-style Delta blues riff. Slowly, the rest of the band including the horns join in, adding a modern sheen to what is essentially a classic Mississippi blues song. Tim adds a brilliant guitar solo with not a single unnecessary note. The song ebbs and flows like the Mississippi River with some glorious dynamics.
“Still In Love” is a haunting minor key lament with more fine horn lines (kudos to Tom Callens for his sterling efforts across the album in arranging the horn parts) with another top drawer guitar solo, while “In The Morning” is an upbeat Slim Harpo-esque one chord groove. The slow “Nowhere My Home” is driven by Tim’s delicate finger-picked guitar while “The Lovin’ Kind” opens with a Chicago-style groove before adding a funky horn part to create something entirely new. There are hints of the folk-blues of the magnificent Chris Smither on “The Game”.
The album ends with the powerfully raw “I Ain’t Ready”, which features Tim alone with a guitar, his vocal melody once again echoing the melody plucked from the guitar.
Several of the songs on the album, such as “The Lovin’ Kind”, “Don’t Be Sorry” or “New Place”, are based around one-chord vamps and anyone who has ever heard a bar band mangle a Howlin’ Wolf classic will know how tricky it can be to maintain the listener’s attention without an obvious chord progression to follow. Tiny Legs Tim and his crack band have no such problems on Elsewhere Bound.
Tim handles the vocals and guitars with aplomb, singing in a light, curiously affecting tenor and laying down a series of nicely finger-picked lines or single notes solos. He takes masterful support from Tom Callens on baritone and tenor sax, Mark De Maeseneer on tenor sax, Marie-Anne Standaert and Yves Fernandez on trumpet, Luc Vermeir on piano, Steven Troch on harmonica, Filip Vandebril on bass and double bass, Amel Serra Garcia on percussion and Frederik Van dan Berghe on drums.
Produced by Tim and recorded in Robot Studio, Ghent, Elsewhere Bound has a warm, modern sound that fits the music perfectly. It also comes in a fine CD sleeve designed by Jannes de Schrijver.
Tiny Legs Tim takes his name from his unusually thin legs, the result of a debilitating illness that nearly cost him his life. It’s an unusual name for an unusually impressive musician. And one well worth investigating.