Artist: Tim Hirons
Album: Laugh At Everything
Genre: Acoustic Folk/Rock
Technical Grade: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Drinking With Mona, Uneven Shoes, Rain Go Away
Just have to say to get this started that the infectious power pop tune “Drinking With Mona” on this disc is one of the best, most addictive songs I’ve heard in a long while.
I love albums like this: one-person bands who really can do it all. Tim Hirons plays every instrument and sings every note on Laugh at Everything, and he has crafted a catchy, jammy jazz/funk/rock/pop/soul set.
Interestingly, Hirons chooses to open with a song totally unlike any other on the album: the jazzy folk/rag of “Feedback.” His singing ranges from a hipster’s croon to a falsetto, and he pumps out some rolling piano. Then “Uneven Shoes” roars out next, full of big punchy chords and melodic heavy metal hero-meets-Allman Brothers guitar solos.
“Ramone,” with percolating organ and wah-wah guitar, is one of several jazz/funk-infused numbers. “Sweet Little Missy” is of a similar vibe but more bopping jazz, with deft acoustic picking and subtly cool percussion. “There Was Lisa” is slinky, with sultry backing vocals and stinging Robert Cray-style blues/soul guitar.
“Rain Go Away” is almost as infectious as “Drinking With Mona” – hypnotic bass hand percussion, slick and speedy acoustic work and soaring vocals. Hirons also fires off some driving blues harp here (more on “Mona”).
Hirons is a heck of a vocalist, and the lyrically image-rich “When It Rains In Vegas” is a vocal showcase: a funky bass vocal line anchors most of the song, and the lead vocal is finger-popping clever.
“Old Red Wine” is a unique standout: more countrified than most of the disc (owing largely to the strummed acoustic versus slide guitar dynamic). And it has a ‘70s attitude like a good Eagles or Steve Miller hit. “That Girl” also has that laid-back approach; it’s a vocally sweet acoustic blues with a bonus touch when Hirons returns to the striding piano style of the first cut.
The title track brings the disc to a close in anthemic style, with big washes of piano chords, a bright chorus, guitar virtuosity and a useful life message (even a carefree whistling solo to drive home the point).
I like the craftsmanship here: I don’t know how much mixing and mastering went into the final product, but the one-man-making-his-grand-statement feeling is authentic on Laugh At Everything.