Nashville based songwriter Tim Easton's ninth LP, American Fork, certainly takes a more elaborate and arrangement-heavy path than past offerings. The album was produced and recorded at Club Roar in Nashville by Patrick Damphier (Mynah Birds, Field Days) and features drummer Jon Radford (Steelism, Justin Townes Earle), multi-instrumentalist Robbie Crowell (Deertick, Turbo Fruits), bassist Michael Rinne (Steelism, Rodney Crowell) and pedal steel wizard Russ Pahl (Ray Lamontagne, John Hiatt) as the backing band.
Opening track "Right Before Your Own Eyes" contains more melodic twists and turns than any previous recording by Easton, and it also contains the first melodic saxophone hook on any of his songs. The album continues on to even more elaborate arrangements with sing-a-long choruses and penetrating lyrics. "Killing Time" is an open letter to all armchair non-conformists to stand up and be counted. "Elmore James" is a love song to the bluesman who could shake a whole room with one groove.
Of course, the acoustic guitar also makes an appearance, but it's a 12-string in Open C Leadbelly tuning played by Easton (who flat picks it like Doc Watson and plays slide on it like Jimmy Page) for a devious ditty about the music business called "Gatekeeper." Side Two is equally as mysterious and moody, with a songwriter's song called "Burning Star," a novelty track that conjures the surreal journey of an Alaskan bar fly, another apathy busting track called "Now Vs. Now," and a closing lullaby for Easton's daughter ("On My Way").