As Seen On: ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
First Published: 12 June 2015
Music Review: Tim Russ – Lifeline (2015)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
I had several reasons for buying Tim’s newest CD titled Lifeline off CD Baby Dot Com. This is my second Tim Russ CD, as I purchased his self titled release for GNP Crescendo Records at a Xena / Star Trek Convention back in the year 2000.
Jump ahead fifteen years and I find out Mr. Russ is not only appearing at the next Space City Comic Con, held in Houston Texas next month, but he’s doing a musical set there as well. Being a journalist for a classic rock station, I decide I would like to cover this special event. Traded emails with a super helpful guy named George. Results, I’ll see you there.
On a side note, if just into Star Trek, the spin-off Tim was associated with most, Star Trek Voyager, is having a twentieth anniversary reunion at the Space City Comic Con this coming July (24th – 26th) with many of the cast members being there. I don’t play favorites. Star Trek Voyager contained so many good stories, and in my opinion, was an excellent science fiction television series. Attending the reunion, and joining first hand in the festivities should be fun!
Back to Mr. Russ and his music career. One man who I wish could attend Tim’s performance along with me would be a fellow writer at ClassicRockRadio.co.uk, named Derek. Cool dude, and seriously into Mr. Russ’ music. Told me he digs Tim’s guitar playing style. Says a lot, because Derek listens to the best.
Before the acting, Tim was a professional musician. He’s been at this for over four decades now. Being either in front of the camera, or directing, work of this type takes up a lot of Tim’s time. Even so, he still manages to get out and play music, whenever he can, such as at the UP & COMING Space City Comic Convention. My friend Mr. Watts, lives in England. If Derek could attend and help me cover it for the station, I know he would in a heartbeat. A lot of miles between the U.K. and Houston Texas USA. So I decided to jump in so Derek (and our readers) could experience it vicariously through me. Believe me, no one’s breaking my arm. My pleasure! Lots of things going on at the Space City Comic Convention this time around. Plenty for a correspondent like me to write about.
Part of being a credible writer is doing research. I read Tim had a new CD out called Lifeline and figured he might perform a song or more off it at Space City Comic Con (July 24_July 26). Found it and ordered the actual factory pressed product via CD Baby Dot Com, so I’d be familiar with the material. Within a few days, it was in my mailbox. Been playing the disc in the car and house every day since, appreciating it more and more with every listen. Of course, there are reasons for that. So without further ado, my thoughts on Tim Russ – Lifeline (2015)
If getting into Tim’s music for the first time, be aware that song wise he’s into the lyrics as much as the man is into the actual music. The title track, and the one that starts off the CD called Lifeline, illustrate that through and through. One of two songs written by Tim Russ on this new studio offering. Lyrics are strong, and the music that accompanies it, fits like a glove. Displays excellent song writing skills. The tune itself stays in your head, long after you’re done playing it aloud. Problem with starting off an album with such a tight number, is that it’s possible to let down the listener if the rest of the material on the album isn’t equally as good and exciting. Am happy to report that’s NOT the case here.
The next ten tracks are songs written by a variety of others, that Tim interpreted his own way. More upbeat than not. Some rhythm n’ blues, mixed in with other styles that keep the listener engaged. Musical compositions that one could know already. Songs by Joe Bonamassa, Bruce Hornsby, Bo Bice, or Jamie N Common.
A very special track is saved for last called Doom Doom Diggity. Mean ass guitar work with spoken words that certainly catch your attention, as well as make one laugh out loud. Based on a real human being? I’ll have to ask Mr. Russ that myself the next time opportunity arises. The wife and I have been playing this track lately on the ride up to the gym. Really helps get our heads zoned in on what we’re about to try and accomplish. Written by Mr. Russ, and as infectious as the title track, Lifeline, that he also penned. Red Alert … BOTH tracks qualify as songs that stick in your mind, long after that last note plays out. At the station we call it ear-worm material.
Using the five star rating system, whereas one star means it’s horrible, to five stars meaning it’s terrific, Uncle G rates Tim Russ – Lifeline … 5 stars! Fact is the whole album is done really well.
For those wondering, Tim’s singing voice is strong, and what I find to be a tad earthy, which really magnifies lyrics and help define their meaning. Has a great delivery, in which voice and instrumentation combine for one unique listening experience.
I really like the choice of songs that Tim covers. I had fun researching and finding out where each song originated. Surprised me with the Jamie N Commons tune, ‘Lead Me Home’. Fans of the television series The Walking Dead should know this one. Speaking of those into television, if into American Idol then you might dig Tim’s version of Bo Bice’s, ‘Witness’. The first song (track six) on the CD that I gave a repeated play on the first listen.
The musicians who accompany Mr. Russ SMOKE! Ladies and Gentleman, the Tim Russ Crew: Jack Conely who plays a mean-ass harmonica, and drummer / percussionist, Jim Martin, whose drum work demands paying attention to. The keyboard work of Bill Burchell is outstanding! As is the saxophone playing of Daniel Mancuso. And I can’t forget the ladies, Diana Perkins (percussion / vocals) and on background vocals, Maria Madero, Adelina Madero, and Diana Perkins. Everyone does a brilliant job, and that’s behind the scenes as well. The physical CD sounds just awesome in my home and car stereo.
And there you have it. A recommended buy that would be a welcome addition to any general music lover’s collection.
Link to Purchase; CD Baby – Tim Russ Page
Space City Comic Convention (July 24-July 26) in Houston Texas USA