Tireless and eclectic Birchard releases album after album

by DGO Web Administrator

The recorded works of local musician Tim Birchard are textbook examples of diversity and risk-taking via songwriting and recording. The man has dozens of releases on his Bandcamp page, some of which stick to one genre, others that are all over the musical map; you’ll find world music chants mixed in with surf-noir instrumentals, and full-lengths that have blues, pop-punk and psychedelic folk mixed in with songs that are the children of one-night stands between members of Devo and Cheap Trick, a rich collection that reflects multi-genre admiration.

Diversity is testament to a lifetime of digging different music. Your narrow record collection, full of predictable grunge, Grammy-nominated tripe, the release that comes right after a band has jumped the shark, or 200 bootlegs of Widespread Panic or Grateful Dead records reflects a lack of adventure and lack of time spent in independent record stores. For crissake, live a little.

Birchard has released two records in the past three months, and dozens more in the last 10 years. “Death to the King” came out in December, followed by January’s “Monkey Shines,” the latter being an 11-song release of quirky Adrian Belew-like art-pop, Western-garage and other cuts for fans of jazz, blues, country, folk and rock.

The multi-instrumentalist creates songs out of home-grown melodies and lyrics contributed from friends, family and colleagues, with the knack for branching out and throwing curveballs. It’s a welcome sound for those in need of a Zappa-induced punch of unpredictability from someone unapologetic to the weak-minded who need music labeled “country” on one side, “rock” on the other.

“My problem is I just get really bored, and I get two songs down and then I think ‘Oh my god,’ and then I go off into left field. With these two last albums I’ve tried to say, ‘These go over here, these go over there’ but then I tell myself to scoop them all together, because its an album,” said Birchard from his home studio on the north end of Durango. “I know it’s not a good sales technique or a good marking technique, but I’m not a marketing guy.”

There are plenty of musicians who have written their own manual on how to be prosperous in the music business, putting the need for music to be heard ahead of the need for music to be sold. “Achievement” is redefined when you put music in peoples’ hands with a negotiable price tag. It’s a grass-roots and honest approach for a man in an industry filled with scoundrels driven by gain and awarded trophies for mediocrity.

“On my page, when you click ‘buy now,’ put in 0 if you want it for free and download it for free. Some people are super cool, they’ll pay 20 bucks, 25 bucks, two bucks, and that’s icing on the cake,” said Birchard. “What does success look like? Well, if my heart is singing, I’m successful.”

Find his music at https://timbirchard.bandcamp.com/.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected].


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