On the fascinating website of Tim Foley, who uses the space to share the wealth of his expansive musical endeavors, the Cambridge, MA singer/songwriter and jack of seemingly all musical trades and multiple genres mentions that his father once stated simple words of inspiration and encouragement that always stuck with him: “You never know what’s around the corner.”
For Foley, in recent years, those creative corners include winning Honorable Mention in the 37th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for “Caribbean Moon For Pat,” a beautiful meditative piece from his 2020 album Instrumental; performing as half of the vintage rock and country band Snap & Mugsy (he’s SNAP); visiting Taka Moro, a luthier and old bandmate from his time in New Orleans, to talk about building a new guitar; and Stop Along The Way, the debut album by the Tim Foley Group.
Launching just before the pandemic, the four-piece pop, rock, folk, funk and jazz outfit – featuring Mike “Sax” McLaughlin on tenor and soprano, bassist Richard Gates (Richard Thompson, Patty Larkin, Ellis Paul) and percussionist Fabio Pirozzolo (Sawaari, Grand Fatilla, Newpoli) – feels for Foley like the culmination of a lifetime of musical passion and expression. As much as it’s possible on a single recording, the soulful singer and versatile guitarist and his band brings all the freewheeling adventure and bold exploration he’s known for over the course of the project’s nine tracks – which were recorded live, just prior to the shutdown, at Middleville Studio with engineer Chris Rival (Paula Cole, Susan Tedeschi, Duke Lavine, Peter Wolf). Stop Along The Way starts with the hip, funk jazz-blues romp “You Don’t Treat Me Right,” an upbeat but emotional lament highlighted by a fiery McLaughlin solo.
Foley seems intent on taking us on mixed tempo stylistic journey from there, starting with more mid-tempo jazz/blues fired “You Believed In Me” but also making gentler acoustic guitar and vocal expressions on the ballad “I Didn’t Say” and the seductive tropical Brazilian-tinged “Look Up at the Moon.”
Though the focus is mostly on Foley’s vocals and guitar and his interactions with this killer band – also highlighted on the alternately chill and emphatically percussive “If I Stayed” and the slow burning, lyrical “So It Goes,” he also includes several jazz-oriented instrumentals like the fiery title track and the spirited, urban jazz flavored “New Time” which put a spotlight on the group’s grand versatility. Hopefully, the Tim Foley Group’s got more eclectic fire for us just around the corner.