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TW Walsh

TW Walsh (Tim to his friends) is a Massachusetts software engineer who moonlights as an introspective folk-pop balladeer. He's got a slightly odd, unconventional voice; this comparison may seem odd initially, but it's a bit like The Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne doing quiet, acoustic, solo stuff. There are similarities between them in timbre and phrasing (Walsh occasionally recalls Neil Young too). In any case, he's got a pretty voice that suits his material. His songs are simple and moody, occasionally with a touch of twang, recalling the stark folk-derived fare of songwriters like Will Oldham and Bill Callahan, but Walsh's compositions tend to be a bit lusher, warmer, less overwhelmingly naked. And every so often, Walsh cuts the big guitars loose for a driving, uptempo Dinosaur Jr.-style rocker. Walsh's smart, poetic lyrics feel like strings of revealing, psychologist-elicited non sequiturs. It's all-around good stuff, eclectic, nicely produced, heartfelt and direct.

Walsh got started as a drummer. He first began recording solo under the name Dirtbike. In early 2000, he recorded his first album under his own name, How We Spend Our Days, on the Made in Mexico label. That caught the ear of the Truckstop label, which released Walsh's excellent 2001 effort, Blue Laws. Walsh crafted the album almost entirely on his own, playing drums, bass, guitar, piano, and organ. Scud Mountain Boy Frank Padallero produced and played some bass and slide guitar, while providing backing vocals. From that album, "Old Fashioned Way of Speaking" is a wispy, epic whisper in your ear. "Gullwatching" is a gorgeous piece of pop introspection, featuring swelling violin and viola accompaniment. Nice stuff.

2002's Pollensongs is a great new five-song EP featuring more of TW Walsh's pensive material, including "All Stops Applied." If enough people hear it, Walsh might even be able to quit his day job.