\ Holding Up The World

A Review of the Tim Grimm CD
"Holding Up The World"

"Holding Up The World"
by Tim Grimm

Copyright 2008
Vault Records

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/08
"Kevin and Maxine's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Musicians typically produce hundreds of songs in a lifetime. Some of the progeny are exceptional to their creator because they are laden with special meaning derived from personal events, affairs of others or are captures of significant history. The degree of emotional attachment to one's creations varies even though sharing the same parentage.

With fans -- outsiders to any private intricacies -- favor is developed by what speaks to them and also by the manner it does so. It's an interchangeable combination of words, message, voice, delivery and the accompanying instrumentation, with the most preferred songs usually a congruent blend of all five ingredients. On a rare occasion, a singer-songwriter will produce a release that provides a number of these choice inclusions but generally it is two or three of these elements contained per cut.

Let's employ the term 'activity stoppers.' Such is an apt description of these songs that halt a listener in his or her multi-tasking tracks, forcing full attention to what is emanating from the musical player. These happenings are generally rare, a veritable transporting to a state of blissful euphoria even if sadness or pain predominates what is being expressed. Nothing else matters or even exists. Elation rules.

Tim Grimm has worked up a bonanza of such with his latest creation "Holding Up The World."

The title cut, "Holding Up The World," opens the release and is one of those aforementioned gems displaying full-fledged synergy. With cello and piano backing that elevates Grimm's wistfulness, the lead character ruminates on his life, its roles and responsibilities, the hits and misses enjoyed and endured, personal vulnerability and the perseverance that sees it all through.

In the same category, "The Girl" follows as an eerie medley of backwoods characters drawn in theologic memes and highlighted by Jason Wilbur's banjo play. This song shares the mystical territory mined so well by the late Dave Carter.

"This Hole" isn't a protest song, at least not the in-your-face kind. Grimm takes a coal miner's son carrying the weight of family expectations to do better and depicts him back home after duty as a soldier in Iraq. He isn't the same person, certainly isn't thinking the same as before his tour and notes that "they tore down this mountain to take all the coal, now in faraway countries we're killin' for oil."

Another seductive cut is "Heart So Full," a spare offering, with a prodigal or wayward lover-type pining for shelter from the what and where he earlier departed. Jason Wilbur's gently moaning electric guitar adds allure here.

The final inclusion in the pantheon of Grimm gems is "So It Goes" as a farmer is slowly losing everything that has meaning for him but he remains upright and simply accepting of whatever comes his way. The late Kurt Vonnegut in "Slaughterhouse Five" used the fatalistic phrase "and so it goes" numerous times to 'explain away' the inexplicable -- the song title here is in the same vein.

A number of the other offerings -- "Krista," "Rebecca Versailles," "Or Bust," and "Long Away Around" -- all feature the juxtaposition of ephemeral losses balanced by that which cannot be washed, blown or otherwise taken away. They didn't provide quite the oomph of the highlighted selections but certainly merit mention as some will find these among their favorites.

Grimm ferries listeners as participants and witnesses to other worlds while providing a running commentary about these territories. All may not be fully decipherable but the thinking and feeling emanating from these journeys infuses a most welcome feeling of aliveness in the listener.

The short take: he nails it.

Track List:

All songs written by Tim Grimm unless as noted.

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