Tim Easton

With Rosavelt and American Mars. Saturday, February 22, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Six Degrees of Separation Kennedy's Down Under, Playhouse Square Center, 1519 Euclid Avenue Through March 8, 216-241-6000.
Tim Easton
Tim Easton
Tim Easton revels in great songcraft and compassion on Break Your Mother's Heart, his third solo LP. Such easy-listening, hard-thinking music may remind you of early Eagles and Jackson Browne, but Easton has his own dark, stylish vision. Born in Lewiston, New York, Easton grew up in Akron and became noted for his work with the Haynes Boys before going solo with the impressive Special 20 in 1998 and garnering widespread acclaim for The Truth About Us, his 2001 debut for the Americana label New West. Said praise has proved to be justified. Easton's voice is small but expressive, his guitar playing powerful, the way he layers a song distinctive.

In tunes like "Poor, Poor LA" and the love songs "Hummingbird" and "Amor Azul," Easton doesn't settle for the easy fix. His lyrics are complex, personal, and observant: "When the work is over/And it's just begun/I probably should have told you/That I wasn't coming back for long/I need you still/Tonight my face could tell the story better/I never meant to leave you," he sings in "Watching the Lightning," his longest, eeriest track. Backed by master drummer Jim Keltner, Bonnie Raitt bassist Hutch Hutchinson, and Browne's keyboardist, Jai Winding, Easton turns in a remarkable clutch of tunes. Two of the most impressive are by J.P. Olsen, "John Gilmartin" (a dust-bowl ballad for Bush's America) and the rueful "True Ways." Experience Easton for power and passion. Track Olsen for promise.

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