Ups and downs, victory and defeat, hope and despair. Life probably provides more stumbling blocks than stepping stones. For this very reason, it’s nice that there are musicians like TIM VANTOL that accompany you not only on the sunny side of life, but also help you through rainy days, when you’re swallowing down your sorrows at some dimly lit bar. Because going down is way easier together.
And yet at first glance Vantol himself doesn’t have a reason to complain. After all, the singer-songwriter has been a sought-after guest on smaller and larger stages for a number of years such as a popular support act for Chuck Ragan. He shares his innermost feelings at festivals like Lowlands and Groezrock as well as on basement concerts. On his releases he cultivates his ambivalent relation to a musician’s life on the road as a symbol of freedom, but also of loneliness and deprivation.
Vantol extolled his viewpoint at nearly 150 concerts throughout Europe during the last year alone. So now it seems to be the right time to recharge batteries a little and make the whole thing a subject for the local record or CD player again, secret hits and fist stretching hymns included. On his 2010 debut “Road Sweet Road” the Dutchman achieved a first swimming badge in the densely populated sea of acoustic artists with raspy voice at a start. With his new album “If We Go Down, We’ll Go Together” however, he reaches for the golden swimming badge – which is well deserved.
After all, it is to swim against many odds. With “Dirty Boots” Vantol wants to tug us out of the often self-imposed lethargy and turn us towards light: “You will never win when you won’t try to hit / So take your hands out of your pockets and put your shoulder to the wheel” – such lines are the paradigm of “If We Go Down …”. For every pothole the musician finds the right chord and the perfect dose of stubbornness and “Yeah, we can do it!”- attitude, no matter whether it’s failed relationships (“Bitter Morning Taste”), religious strife (“Hands Full Of Dust”) or the admission of own errors (“Before It All Ends”). In so doing he serves good folk and country-style means, which has indeed been expectable, but is of no degree inappropriate. Finally, the songs from “If We Go Down …” are better stricken up arm in arm with old friends, because not only sinking, but also singing against the everyday dreariness is less a hassle together.
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