Haynes Boys
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Haynes Boys , 6/10
Tim Easton: Special 20 , 6/10
Tim Easton: The Truth About Us , 5/10
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The Haynes Boys, formed in Ohio in the mid 1990s and led by singer songwriter Tim Easton, belong to the alt-country movement of Son Volt and Wilco. Guardian Angel (Slab, 1996) is a rarity because it disposes of the trivial country stereotypes and plays guitar-driven angst the way a punk-rock band would (Jackie, Maryhaven Family, Anybody), and occasionally it simply plays loud, noisy and distorted garage-rock (New Franklin County Woman).

Tim Easton's solo album, the mostly acoustic Special 20 (Heathen, 1998), is no less eclectic, inventive and exuberant. Easton rants his way through blues (Help Me Find My Space Girl), honkytonk (Just Like Home), rock and roll (Torture Comes To Mind), and folk-rock (Troublesome Kind and All The Pretty Girls Leave Town), but, again, the standout track may be the least orthodox, the almost psychedelic Neil Young-ian Everywhere is Somewhere.

His second solo, The Truth About Us (New West, 2001), that benefits from Wilco's backing, is more of a folk record (Get Some Lonesome, Bad Florida, Half A Day) than a rock record (Happy Now with Byrds-y jingle jangle, When The Lights Went Out, Soupcan Telephone Conversation with Hammond organ). By giving up his upbeat melodic genius, Easton surrenders half of what makes his songs so memorable. On the other hand, few folk/blues musicians have been able to "update" their archaic idioms the way he does with beatboxes, loops and electronics.

Despite his limited output, Easton is already widely recognized as a heir of Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy.

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