Tim Easton’s music might make the most sense bouncing off boot-worn, whiskey-soaked wooden floors, but Wednesday it will feel at home among occasionally soda-speckled tile and an overstuffed sofa.
The Nashville singer-songwriter will bring his lean and bluesy brand of roots music to the Gold Town Theater 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, for his first Juneau concert in about four years.
While he hasn’t been in the capital city for a while, Easton is a regular performer in Alaska. He has played eight straight Salmonfests in the Kenai Peninsula and in the past has performed at a handful of Alaska Folk Festivals, too.
“I’ve come to Alaska every year several years in a row now,” Easton said during an interview with the Capital City Weekly. “I am here now in the Southeast part of Alaska in order to teach a songwriting class in Ketchikan, and I figured while I was in the neighborhood I might as well come and play Juneau on my way north to continue a small tour. The shorter answer is (I’m here) because I love it here. I would tour here three times a year if I could.”
“The whole entire music business was looking at me when I was first working with record deals and what not, and they kept asking me why do you go to Alaska?” he added. “I just had a different plan, a different desire when it came to being a troubadour.”
Easton took some time ahead of his concert to talk to the Capital City Weekly about what it’s like to be an independent singer-songwriter in the home of corporate country, why he keeps dependably schlepping out to musical outposts and what he listens to on sunny spring days.
For people who haven’t been to a Tim Easton show before, what can they expect?
A good amount of variation and song styles, some stories and hopefully laughter and a way to escape the day-to-day doldrums of the news.
What’s in like being an independent artist in what I think of the as the corporate headquarters of the music industry?
I am an anomaly in Nashville, and nobody is going to accuse me of not straying from the beaten path. I tend to tour off the beaten path, and play in towns that people don’t consider to be the main destinations for performing arts. I tend to gravitate closer to where the fishing is good, too.
I’ve lived in cities nobody would consider a destination, and when people — almost anybody — came through, people would turn out to support them. They’re almost art-starved, so that makes sense to me.
I’ve lived in huge cities. I’ve lived in LA, New York, Paris, London, Tokyo through my life and now today I prefer the towns in the country because that’s where I believe real stories are happening. I love to read small town newspapers. I did my time in Hollywood, I prefer reality now.
I’m a record fiend, I couldn’t help but notice you’ve got records available through your website. What are the logistics of putting out physical media in that format as an independent artist?
Well, because of the vinyl resurgence, it’s easier to get vinyl printed today. There are more manufacturers of vinyl today than there were 20 years ago. The difficulty comes in transporting it. I have a suitcase full of vinyl that’s 50 pounds easy when I start the tour and hopefully doesn’t weight anything when I finish the tour, which it usually is. I’m not saying it’s a big seller out there, but it’s taken over for CDs.
CDs have become more like business cards or beer coasters than actual pieces of art. There’s still places like Alaska, Japan, Australia where CDs are still part of the deal, but you find out eventually you’re kind of also in the merchandiser business, you’re not just in the singer-songwriter business.
I will say, and I’d love you to write about this, for the first time ever I have my debut collection of poetry.
What’s the name of the collection?
It’s called“Uncollected Until Now.” It’s brand new. You have to kind of add to your merch table. Music doesn’t cut it anymore. You’ve got to have schwag, and this is some highbrow schwag.
What are you listening to?
I listen to classical music or jazz, more or less stuff without music, and I read a lot of poetry.
Any reason in particular?
I don’t really need to hear any other troubadour’s rumblings. You might as well put in parentheses P.S. I am old. I will scan the classic rock and low-on-the-dial NPR stations every place I go. I’m a huge radio fan.
You’re coming up here at a pretty sun-kissed time, you have any favorite warm weather tunes?
I really tend to listen to old, dead African-American guys. If I’m reaching for lyrics, it tends to be old, dead blues guys. It’s a way of saying, “Yes, I’m not a millennial.”
Know & Go
What: Tim Easton in concert.
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 3. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: Gold Town Theater, 171 Shattuck Way.
Admission: $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets are available at Rainy Retreat Books.
• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.