The University of South Alabama’s Independent Music Collective (IMC) brings together the campus’ students, faculty, staff and alumni with the sole purpose of adding depth to the local music scene. The organization accomplishes its goal by holding a series of annual concerts exclusively featuring roots and Americana artists.
The concerts are given a listening room environment, courtesy of Satori Coffee House. IMC has made a positive impression on both the local music scene and the featured artists, which in the past have included Eef Barzalay, Scott H. Biram and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Some featured artists have made Satori a regular stop, such as singer-songwriter Tim Easton. For him, Satori is the perfect place to showcase his songs.
“It’s feels good in there,” Easton said. “It’s a coffee shop, but it’s also got its own special back room, which is a listening room. All around the country, there are all these venues classified as listening rooms. They’re enjoyable to play, because people give a damn.”
The Nashville artist has been enjoying the growing scene in the Music City. Compared to some he is a new resident, but it is not a new environment for him. He has spent a great deal of time in the city both performing and recording. Sixteen years ago, Easton was laying down tracks in Nashville for his debut album “Special 20,” which will soon be reissued on vinyl. The public became acquainted with an artist who riddled his songs with acoustic music from the past. However, the outcome was too raucous for folk and too rock for country. In those days, his music was labeled with a new genre known as “Alt. Country.”
These days, Easton has been forced into the world of Americana. Of course, he is not shy to tell someone that he does not care for those labels or any labels at all. For him, labels are for businessmen and music is for the fans. However, he completely approves with minimal technological methods employed by modern Americana artists, such as Old Crow Medicine Show and The Milk Carton Kids. For Easton, acoustic music will always reign supreme.
“It’s all to bark back at technology,” Easton explained. “If electricity croaks, I’m still gonna have a gig and those who can play on the porch, which is nice. When you study the music of the greats and giants, it means your music can last forever too.”
Even though he scoffs at music industry standards, Easton has enjoyed a successful career. He has released seven solo albums and two with his side-project Easton, Stagger and Phillips. Along the way, he has picked up an Independent Music Award and drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan, one he finds annoying and cliché. As far as his secret to longevity, Easton says it might be due to him being “a little bit stupid and a little bit unrealistic.” However, he will cite his love of music as the main driving force.
“I think that my idea of success is that 100 years from now, someone will be singing my songs by a campfire,” Easton said. “It’s nice to pay the bills, but I’m in it for the love of music and art and hanging out with people that do the same.”
Easton will not only use his evening at Satori to perform, but he will also be recording the set for an upcoming double-live album. Easton found his information for this project within the tracks of Doc Watson’s “On Stage” and Townes Van Zandt’s “Live at the Old Quarter.” His plan is simple. Easton explained that he has 100 songs that are “published and floating around.” Out of the extensive repertoire, he will choose “20 or 30” songs that will be recorded at Satori. So far, he has several working titles for this album including “Campfire Propaganda” (also the name of his indie label), “Sings My Songs” and “American Fork.” This is neither the first time that Easton has used the WeMo coffee house for a live studio, nor is it the only listening room that he has used to record this project.
“I’ve been recording Columbus, Ohio, and I’m going to record a set in Nashville coming up,” he said. “There’s recording, and then there’s getting into it and doing a better job. Playing fully acoustic and not plugging-in is the vibe that I’m going for.”
As far as studio albums are concerned, Easton is planning to release another one in 2015. While the exact date is unsure, he is sure that it will be a full-acoustic album recorded on tape, which will translate well on vinyl. Even though music is an important aspect of his life, his next release is not on the top of his list of important things. He reserves that for his family and fly fishing.
Date: Friday, Sept. 5, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Satori Coffee House, 5460 Old Shell Road, www.satori-coffee.com
Tickets: $5 at the door/Free for USA students