Media Reviews of Tim Gartland's Music
WHAT SOME CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT TIM GARTLAND's "TRUTH":
"...the truth is it’s pretty darned good. Gartland is a great harmonica player...But he’s also proven again he’s a good songwriter and vocalist, someone whose voice and musical style forms kind of a wry, raspy texture. It’s distinctive and that’s what you want from a musician…there’s both humor and heartache to be found...Nearly all songs have clever, road-weary lyrics…" (Tom Henry/Toledo Blade)
"agile and soulful tunes…Tim Gartland is adept at plumbing the genres of rock, country, and Americana as well as the blues…Several of the tracks are clever as well as musically appealing…an accomplished album." (Dan Stevens/Blues Music Magazine)
"…on his excellent new album Truth, bluesman Tim Gartland reminds us that 'Facts are facts, there’s no spinning that.' Here’s a fact: If you’re a fan of the blues, you’re gonna want to spin Gartland’s new record — repeatedly….Gartland’s fifth solo album features a dozen swinging cuts that range from barroom blues and roadhouse R&B to sophisticated blues-rock. At every stop on the journey, Gartland shows he is a clever and talented songwriter, a skilled harp player and a soulful vocalist. And that’s the truth." (Daryl Sanders/Nashville Scene)
"Ever wonder what John Hammond might sound like trying out a Randy Newman impersonation while leading Delbert McClinton’s band in a smoky room at the back edge of the French Quarter?...Right off during the southern rhythm and bluesy, piano-rolling Stones-y 'Don’t Mess with My Heart,' you’re absolutely compelled to dig deep, and bop and sway. Gartland proves himself a collaborative songwriter’s songwriter on it, and all eleven that follow. Singing from personal experience in a roasted molasses drawl, he peppers his performances with pied piper-tuneful harmonica. The A-List band...play strong but unfussy music that flows like a lazy trip down the Mississippi and rocks and rolls in the mud of its banks…the album’s namesake highlight, 'The Thing About the Truth,' rides easy on an addicting Latin melody while Gartland delivers a potent message about the value of honesty...one of the top roots and blues recordings of 2022." (Tom Clarke/Tahoe OnStage)
"an excellent album" (Gerrit Schinkel/Bluestown Music)
"...With dry, droll, semi-spoken vocals recalling Watermelon Slim or even rocker Chuck Prophet, Gartland delivers 12 cuts that speak to a number of life lessons including the need to keep love on an even keel, 'Don’t Mess With My Heart', the need for a reset to the carefree days of yore after a failed romance, 'Wish I Could Go Back', the need to recognize love when it comes by, 'Love Knocks Once', and the timely need to embrace truth, 'The Thing About Truth'...Throughout, vocalist Wendy Moten (top 10 finalist on the Voice) adds saucy harmony and counter-point vocals that could drop off a Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks disc. While Gartland has top notch chops on the harmonica, it would be a mistake to cast him as just a harmonica player with a back up band. His richly wrought lyrics and earnest vocals make this a well-rounded effort that will appeal to more than harmonica fans. A top-notch release to kick off the new year." (Mark Smith/Jazz & Blues Report)
"Truth is a smoky, groovin’ blues delight of casual excellence...With spirited harp work that recalls Little Walter and a deep voice full of feeling, Tim Gartland has really delivered the goods...it’s music that you can hear as well as feel...Once you throw this disc on you’ll have a tough time turning to something else… trust me." (John Kereiff/The Rock Doctor)
"Great stuff!" (Joe Wolfe-Mazares/Ear To The Ground)
"Tim Gartland plays the blues the way we at Fervor Coulee like them: close enough to the roots that we don’t get distracted by rock ‘n’ roll guitars and drums, and relevant enough that we care what is being expressed...Gartland wrote or co-wrote all the songs comprising Truth. They are a varied and stellar lot, songs of considered insight lyrically and musically...The blues is a deep well, one filled with an elixir healing wounds and providing faith going back generations. Through his honest and genuine approach, Tim Gartland has tapped into the soothing remedy this music can offer. Truth provides listeners with thoughtful words and enticing rhythms that will provide hours of listening enjoyment." (Donald Teplyske/Fervor Coulee)
"smartly written and produced album. It’s full of razor-sharp lyrics and crisp music…starts with Gartland’s world-weary, hint of late-night whiskey baritone that he uses to frame all these finely crafted lyrics. This band is tight, but the music rolls as loose as it should...Then there’s the title track, 'The Thing About the Truth,' written with Karen Leipziger, which neatly sums up the philosophy here of the value of truth, with the following observation that really pulled me in:
'A world that’s lit by gaslight casts a shadow of doubt….'...honest, rootsy, bluesy music. It’s an excellent, finely crafted album that effortlessly pulls together intelligent songwriting, smooth vocals and inspired musicality." (Jim White/Blues Roadhouse)
"Whether you choose to call it Blues, R&B, or Americana, this is an album that is certain to please listeners on multiple levels. An exceptional songwriter, Gartland is also one of the finest old-school harmonica players in the business. 'Truth' walks the fine line between old-school and contemporary beautifully, with lyrical content focused on the here and now, and unrivaled musicianship...There is not a weak tune on the disc...I recommend this one highly."
(Bill Wilson/Reflections In Blue)
"Gartland hit my sweet spot straight from the opening stanza...Man …. oh man, can he play that harp! But there’s so much more to this act than just a single instrument...thoughtful lyrics and an arrangements worthy of a Superstar Act...it’s a keeper par excellence". (Alan Harrison/The Rocking Magpie)
"a twelve song mix of roots, blues, country and soul music...Prime cuts include the rollicking blues 'Don't Mess With My Heart', the steady rolling 'Leave Well Enough Alone' co-written with Nashville based Buffalo born Dave Duncan, the slow smoky blues number 'The Thing About The Truth' co-written with Karen Leipziger, the piano driven 'Cloudy With A Chance Of The Blues', the carefree and breezy 'Love Knocks Once', the greasy 'Wish I Could Go Back', the swinging sage advice of 'Mind Your Own Business' and the instrumental album closer 'Save Sammy Some'. Two other tracks rise above, the outstanding 'One Love Away' and the gorgeous country rock ballad 'Pause'. In the hands of the right artist, 'Pause' could be a major hit." (Bob Silvestri/Best of WNY)
"With a bunch of the Delbert McClinton gang holding spots at key bases on this set, it could easily fill in for the next McClinton release...Solid, southern ...blues rock throughout, this is one of those solid parties on a platter that’s not to be missed if you want to rock the night away in fine hands. Well done." (Chris Spector/Midwest Record)
"...it's got distinct soul and blues roots. Opening with 'Don't Mess With My Heart', Gartland and his distinctive vocal and harmonica-styling lead the way...a solid opener. With it's easy percussion, 'The Thing About The Truth' has a nice radio presence. Shuffle track,'Outta Sight Outta Mind' glides with super vocals by Gartland and perfect backing vocal Motan and slick guitar work by Frahm, all anchored by the hands of McKendree. Very nice. 'Wish I Could Go Back' has a cool, easy blues feel...With it's Louisiana rhythm and cool harmonica soloing, this may be my favorite track on the release. Wrapping the release is bouncy, blues rocker, 'Save Sammy Some', giving Gartland and McKendree a nice opportunity to stretch out a little…" (Bman's Blues Report)
"...when it comes to harmonica, this guy knows his stuff...'The Thing About The Truth' was written by Tim Gartland and Karen Leipziger, and is one of my personal favorites. 'Cloudy With A Chance Of The Blues' is a totally fun number….From the moment 'Outta Sight Outta Mind' begins, I am totally digging it...Everything about this track is working so well. It is smooth and soulful and delicious, and the series of leads on this track is one of my favorite sections of the entire album. This song is wonderful from beginning to end, without a doubt a highlight of the disc." (Michael Doherty/Michael's Music Log)
"blending blues, soul, roots rock and country" (Michael Limnios/blues.gr)
"The Alt Root Weekly Top 10 for Wednesday, February 9, 2022 features new music from Tim Gartland, "The Thing About The Truth" (Danny McCloskey/The Alternate Root)
"Gartland knows how to write a song, how to present it, how to say something with it the listener will want to hear and maybe identify with. It's as if he's dug down through all blues' roots and rabbit holes and found a way to keep the music's spirit intact and yet to let it breathe afresh, in the manner of one who is at once a committed carrier of the tradition and a subtle, ingenious transformer of it. Satisfied satisfies indeed."
-Jerome Clark, Rambles Roots Music Revews
“Over the course of his career he has developed into a skilled songwriter…his reputation as a superb harp player is well justified...His vocals convey a rich tone and texture…with a richness and resonance that’s stirring throughout.”
- Lee Zimmerman, Living Blues Magazine
“The songs (Gartland’s) themselves are smartly-constructed with clever lyrics that often contain quick-witted word play and unusual half-rhymes. A song like “Artifacts” is a genuinely moving testament to lost love. Great songs, great playing, great production.”
- Rhys Williams, Blues Blast Magazine
“He’s got that brilliantly-deep, aged-in-the-wood baritone that is perfect for the blues. Listen to “Satisfied,” as it is sho’ nuff funky, funny, hip, sexy, and strong, from a mighty entertaining harpoon man!"
- Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues and Roots Alliance
"Harmonicist Gartland has progressed from being a blues musician to a well-rounded roots artist who blends Southern soul and touches of country into his sound. Gartland is a gifted harmonica player whether using diatonic or chromatic harps. He sings with deep but relaxed soul for his well-crafted songs, replete with a sense of humor and catchy hooks…upbeat, lighthearted, and witty. Nashville is wearing well on him."
- Jim Hynes, Elmore Magazine
"Front and center is Garland’s voice. Downbeat compared his smooth baritone to that of Charlie Musselwhite, Willie Dixon and Leon Russell…but my ear hear more clearly hears Rob Thomas and even Johnny Cash. Likewise his harp playing is spot on without being self-indulgent.
Dan Stevens, Blues Music Magazine
“Gartland wrote all 10 songs, produced and blows his brains out on harmonica. His lyrics go way beyond the usual feel-good romp of a solid blues band…(he) has now made his masterpiece. Tough to pick a highlight as all 10 are great…”
- Mike Schermer, Gold Mine Magazine
"If You Want A Good Woman" (latest album) is loaded with Gartland’s fine vocals and exceptional harmonica work. He is also a strong songwriter ...witty, catchy, fun.
- Bill Copeland, Bill Copeland Music News
"Singer-song crafter-harmonica master Tim Gartland for the past two years has been calling Nashville home. During that time he’s been taking in the rich musical influences that Southern city has to offer as well as honing his songwriting skills razor sharp."
- Brian Owens, Blues Music Magazine, 2017
"Tim is a harp virtuoso who is also blessed with a soulful voice. " (4 ½) of 5 Stars
- Philip Verhaege , Keys and Chords Magazine, Belgium
"He wrote all of these blues- inspired songs, adding electrifying harmonica fills and touching upon various matters of the heart, plus subjects from Wall Street corruption to even LeBron James."
-Steve Morse, longtime Boston Globe Correspondent who has also contributed to Billboard and Rolling Stone
To sum up "If You Want A Good Woman" in a single word, that would have to be “soulful”. As a singer Tim has a smooth, relaxed baritone, and his band provides just the right support- supple, in the pocket, no showboating needed.
- The Rock Doctor, John Kereiff
"Gartland has written some exceptional original songs (he has a way with words), and he and the band deliver very strong performances. His vocal on the opening "What The Blues Look Like," reminded me of Paul Butterfield, with some tasty harp and slide guitar. This is a terrific song that one can see many folks covering '
- Ron Wienstock, In A Blue Mood
"Tim is that rare combination of inspired intrumentalist, unique vocal stylist, and gifted songwriter. The fraternity of artists who can claim that hat trick is a select group and when you narrow it down to harpplayers/ vocalists/ composers it comes down to four living artists: James Harman, Mark Hummel, Rick Estrin, and, now, Tim Gartland."
“Looking Into the Sun is muscular, yet lean, rich without being overindulgent. It's deeper than a bottomless pool! One of the best recordings of 2011”.
- Greg Sarni President of the Blues Trust
“I Had It All”, “Where’s the Cure For You” and the prowling “Willie That’s Who” are all heartfelt numbers, organic and bursting with real character. There’s intimate warmth glowing with this lot as Tim audibly lives every nuance he sings or plays".
- Daniel Pavlica, The Rocktoligist
"Tim Gartland has struck gold, on this his best recorded work ever (If You Love A Good Woman). But don’t take my word for it. Get your own copy and give it a spin".
- Brian Owens, Metronome Magazine
"Nashville-based Tim Gartland is a fine blues harmonica player who generally favors tasteful restraint over technical fireworks, a likeable singer and a skillful songwriter. Indeed every song on If You Want A Good Woman, his third album, is an original (five of them composed with keyboard player Tom West) and they’re all catchy and cleverly written".
- Allan Pearce, Blues Matters
"One of Tim Gartland’s main qualities is his cool, honest and natural way of singing, playing harmonica and song writing . The album includes twelve of Tim Gartland’s compositions he has written in collaboration with his keyboard player Tom West. All songs are gifted with a melodic beauty and accents of soul and blues music... "
- Vicente P. Zumel La Hora del Blues