Recorded at Aaron’s home studio in Athens, Alysseum Recording, Scrawled consists of mainly first or second take performances by a rag-tag band of talented musicians clearly having a ball. The members of Timber (Aaron on guitar and vocals, Kyle Gann on banjo and mandolin, Daniel Ray on violin, Coy King on upright bass, Sarah Schindler on accordion and harmony vocals, and Eric Johnson on pedal steel) include punk and medal players, acoustic guitar slingers, vegans, activists, bartenders, line cooks and one law professor. It’s a new line-up for the band, and Scrawled is truly a collaborative effort recorded at a comfortable pace with a PBR stocked refrigerator never out of arm’s reach. Additional friends join the mix, including legendary Athens country crooner Dave Marr (ex-Star Room Boys), songstress Kaitlin Jones (Kaitlin Jones & The County Fair), Thayer Sarrano (Kuroma), and drummer Chris Ellenburg (ex-Southern Bitch, Tony Tidwell).
And then there are the songs. A fine batch of pensive, fiery country tunes, the songs each hone in on particular points of the emotional spectrum, detailing with precision and effect feelings of distance and loss, love, loneliness, and the warmth and hurt of memory. Strong lyrics and keen wordplay tell of bartending nights, sordid affairs, postponed goodbyes, and new possibilities. Ranging from the frenzied to the sedate, Scrawled places the urgency of catchy tracks “Yeah, Well I Never Loved You Too” and “Beer Bottles and Cigarette Butts” alongside the breathtaking “Scrawled”, a masterful piece featuring the vocal stylings of guests Dave Marr and Kaitlin Jones set against a playful backdrop highlighting each instrument.
The record contains a certain quirkiness and timelessness channeled through Aaron’s impassioned, punchy voice, reminiscent of early R.E.M. and the perfect touch of acoustic string-band grit beside its subtle beauty. One may hear early Uncle Tupelo, Bonnie Prince Billy, and Nashville Skyline-era Dylan in Scrawled, but its character is clearly its own.
Says Aaron: “We were really aiming for an old-time feel, without the rules and structures that form of music can sometimes demand. While we didn’t want it to sound like we recorded this in the garage, we recorded it in the garage! We want listeners to feel as though they are in the room with us, to ‘taste the beer’, so to speak.”
A number of the songs on display are some of the first Aaron ever wrote. And it’s a good thing he waited until he was ready to offer them properly, with the right band mates and textures. “I’m thrilled to finally have them released from captivity,” he says. “hopefully it will outlast me.” One close listen to this collection and you’ll know the answer. These songs will be with you for a long time.
Listening to Scrawled, one is struck by its intimate nature, as if the band of friends were pickin’ songs in the next room or out on the porch on a lazy day, rain or shine. You’ll be grabbing a beer and tapping your feet in no time.
Timber has quietly been releasing heartfelt, riveting barstool confession songs thick with the warmth and ease of Athens, Georgia, for the past few years. Scrawled marks Timber’s third full-length album and reveals songwriter Daniel Aaron in stride, delivering a raw, playful yet honest collection blending old time traditional instrumentation with country arrangements and a loose garage-pop feel.
1. Farewell Again
2. Yeah, Well I Never Love You Too
3. Sad & Scrawled
4. It’s Too Late Tonight
6. Miles Away
7. Just Another Sad, Sad Song
8. Hand In Hand
9. Love Potion
11. Beer Bottles & Cigarette Butts
12. The Dawn Is Enough To Get Me Through The Night