The plaintive, no words minced title of Tim Hindmon’s single “A Musician” communicates the Chicago’s songwriter’s obvious need to reflect on his musical passions and share those with listeners. This live recording captures Hindmon working with an obvious small band, likely a trio or quartet, and they artfully balance a near folk/roots rock approach with audible classic country influences in the music. There’s no one songwriter you can point to as Hindmon’s model, but he definitely works within a well worn tradition with this song while still owning both the sound and subject matter as something his own. Despite its indie status, Hindmon has released an outstanding live recording that grabs the room’s energy and presents Hindmon and his bandmates’ performance in quite a respectable sonic light. The vocals and playing alike share the crowd’s energy and this enhances the overall package.
Even if the lyrics were a little more mundane, Hindmon would still elevate them thanks to the unique emotive grain of his vocals. Listeners never grasp or grope to understand what he’s singing and he obviously tailors his singing to conform as closely as possible to what the band’s doing rather. The instrumental and vocal melodies are not identical, however, and the resulting richness comes from something that’s a songwriting gift, when done well. His songwriting talents are well represented in the track’s structure – few songs in this style will satisfy as many listeners with the transition from a verse into the chorus like Hindmon does with a “A Musician”. Likewise, the chorus of the song gives this otherwise highly personal track an avenue for listeners to access its world with the inspiring, relatable emotion in Hindmon’s voice.
Fortunately for us the lyrics are much more than average. Instead, Hindmon carves out a literate, neatly percussive lyric for “A Musician” that benefits from the song’s rousing vocal melodies. He brings the paunchiness of the song to a high point with a number of key lines and their effectiveness is directly connected to his writing skill in those moments. The musical backing will please many. It’s never just an excuse for Hindmon’s voice and writing – instead, the six string playing stands out as one of the critical parts making the song come off as well and the striding drums never push too hard, but apply constant pressure throughout. The aforementioned elements come together with memorable fullness and make this one that sticks in your memory from the first listen.
There’s no question this songwriter and performer will be back for more and I look forward to his future singles and longer recordings. In a scene bursting with talent and imitators alike, Tim Hindmon aspires to be nothing more than himself and brings that to his listeners with as much art and melody as his songs require.