Life, Love and Tenderness . . . Caught Live

Live at the Bunbury Theatre (ear X-tacy Records)

Joel Timothy

By Tim Roberts

What is a cynic to do at the end of the most bizarre century in all history? At the end of the decade that started with "Smells Like Teen Spirit," this city was struck full face last year by the soft light of hope and love by such performers as Butch Rice and his Acoustic Pop, Moon with The Funeral of Mr. Disappointment, and works from other passionate troubadours like Kathleen Hoye and Scott Robinson. Like Jeremy Hilary Boob (phud – Ph.D.), the pudgy little intellectual Nowhere Man in Yellow Submarine cavorting around Pepperland and making roses grow on the body of the Chief Blue Meanie, these and others were spreading their messages of love and hope armed only with luscious melodies and healing lyrics. Roses grew everywhere.

And now, to deliver the final (but soft) blow is Joel Timothy, caught Live at the Bunbury Theatre.

Known mostly for his work in TV, film and commercial scores, the 48-year-old Timothy delivers his heartfelt songs on this recording in a relaxed, almost raspy voice that underlies the sincerity of his lyrics. The songs cover the span of his life: memories of his mother, his father, and his brother (who later committed suicide); the first meeting he had with his wife, artist Karen Boone; the joy of raising his son Ian; the unease of moving from California to Kentucky and leaving behind his grown daughter from a previous marriage. There's a tenderness in Timothy's performance, from each song's introduction to its final chord, a relaxed, nurturing sound that floats you in and invites you to stay for awhile.

The entire production, recorded live at the Bunbury Theatre during the taping of a show for WFPK in March of last year, is warm and personable. It sounds as if we're eavesdropping on a father singing lullabies to his child, or a husband singing to his wife a story of their love. The CD booklet, designed by his wife, contains song lyrics and commentary from Timothy about each selection, which puts the songs in a clearer context that deepens the meaning behind each one.

Live at the Bunbury Theatre is a 55-minute trance that's hard to snap out of. Don't spend money on a massage. Just buy this CD and save a few dollars.