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Tim Bastmeyer - Self-Titled

Grassfire Entertainment (TTK 2011)

11 songs; 39:50 minutes

Styles: Acoustic Blues, Jazzy Blues, Blues Rock, Blues Ballads

Where do the blues come from? Is their magic primarily instrumental, delivered through fiery guitar riffs and powerhouse piano? Are fans mainly drawn to the blues via vocalists, such as the newly-and-dearly-departed Etta James? Perhaps blues songs’ lyrics are the key to this genre’s success. All of these elements must be in place if a song is worthy of being called “true blues.” Tim Bastmeyer, a Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer-music teacher, knows this and tries his best to fuse them on his self-titled third album. He gets an “A” for effort, but listeners must decide if the whole of “Tim Bastmeyer” is better than the sum of its eclectic parts! I found his nasal vocals an acquired taste. There are ten originals and one cover (“I’m Going Down” by Don Nix). Three call for attention:

Track 7: “Get Up!”--This is one of Bastmeyer’s radio highlights, and for good reason. It’s the sole instrumental on the album, and its best song. Combining a highly-danceable beat from drummer Corey Richardson and bassist James Thompson with Julian Fauth’s smooth 70’s-funk piano, this track will drive blues fans out of their seats and on to the dance floor in no time flat! Throughout the album, and especially here, the guitar and instruments are clean, clear and precise without any guitar-hero histrionics.

Track 9: “Corporate Crazy”--If one didn’t notice the title of this song, one might think it’s a marketing manager’s dream! Bastmeyer, in almost rap like fashion, mentions so many corporate entities in the first verse that he’d be rich if those entities paid him for doing so: “Home Depot gonna build me a brand-new home. Blockbuster, Blockbuster, Blockbuster, Rent-to-Own. No, feel like a burger from Mickey D’s.” He even contemplates a trip to the moon to flee consumerism saturation!

Track 3: “What Ever Happened To?”-- Sometimes we reminisce about “the good old days” and the things we’ve lost as progress marches on. However, are all of them worth mourning equally? “Whatever happened to virtual reality? Whatever happened to record stores? Whatever happened to truth?” No one knows, but Bastmeyer knows his fate: “Whatever happened to me is what happened to you…”

Tim began his musical career in 1986, and over the years has played and recorded with a number of artists. He has performed throughout North America, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Scotland and England. He has shared the stage with some of Canada’s Juno-winning blues players and Grammy-winning blues musicians from the United States.

Featuring Juno award-winning blues artist Julian Fauth on piano, James Thomson on bass and Corey Richardson on drums, this album, with its clever, witty, and sometimes biting observations, is a mix of many blues styles, some with a rock edge, and blues ballads. Playing an electric and acoustic guitar, Tim incorporates different styles by using finger picking, flat picking, and multiple tunings with slide guitar. Where do these blues come from? Tim Bastmeyer’s head! Look for him “north of the border”!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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