The fact that Will Stewart and Janet Simpson, the beautifully in synch Alabama alt folk musical dreamcatchers collectively known as Timber, call their full length debut The Family speaks volumes about their developing creative relationship since the release of their self-titled 2015 EP.
Their uniquely soulful, laid back, ambient and easily rhythmic vibe incorporates a multitude of previous band experiences – Stewart’s from his Nashville centered country soul outfit Willie and the Giant, Simpson’s from her tenures in bands like Wooden Wind, Delicate Cutters and Teen Getaway. Yet Timber’s slow seductive, shimmering guitar driven flow and offbeat poetic expressions are more than simply the sum of two talented parts.
There’s a lived in, world wise coolness, as if these two musical sojourners weren’t quite firing on all musical cylinders until they joined forces. To fully appreciate The Family, a little patience is needed. Songs like the opener “Burying Ground” (featuring Stewart’s earthy lead vocal), “As A Kill” (with Simpson’s ethereal lead voice) and “Colors” (a duet featuring their gorgeous harmonizing) are slow building, hypnotic, a bit folky, new agey and contemplative. With a bit more alt-rock guitar brooding, ditto their single “Sunstroke,” which finds their vocal textures in full glorious bloom.
Those pining for more mainstream rhythms will find breezy comfort on their other single “Shuttlecock,” which is likewise reflective, dream-like and transcendent, but with a crisp, edgy country rock groove. All of the duo’s longing comes to a powerful fruition on the plaintive closing ballad “Move,” which finds Simpson painting poetic pictures of a beautiful romantic refuge. That tune is as gently building and hypnotic as some of the previous songs, but there’s a breakthrough brightness that can’t be denied.
Timber finds two excellent singers, artists and musical visionaries connecting on a raw, primitive level, daring people to enter their world, relax and let their thoughts drift into a sense of potential bliss.