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MidDay Farm Report

2012 - nunmuney records

4****

 

 Tim Winton is a talented singer songwriter who, thanks to his vocals and ability to write some tremendously literate songs and melodies, could have been born for the purpose of performing high quality alt. country. Tim handles the lead vocals plus guitar, dobro, banjo and harmonica, with his son Griffin on harmony vocals, guitar, mandolin and harmonica. To round out this really tight, talented quartet Chuck Haston is on drums and percussion with Daniel Sheets playing upright bass. There are not too many father and son based bands in alt. country and whilst there is no apparent‘generation gap,’ their sound does benefit from the close harmonies between the two and if this debut album is an example of the talent they can call upon, their future should be really bright.
Virtually all of the instrumentation is acoustic and the playing is always excellent as is the production and arrangements in which you can pick out all of the individual instruments. It takes a lot of confidence to produce a debut of this quality and sparseness and when you listen to the quite gripping story lines and the singing it is no wonder they have that confidence. There are some tremendous tales contained within these eleven songs with most being written by Tim. The exceptions to this are Pretty Thing and Annie June by Sam Young, Farm Song (no other way) by Allen Ramsey and
The Cherry Creek Mill by Kent Henderson and Tim Winton.
Although this is not a ‘concept album’ as such, many of the songs seem to be rooted in southern U.S working communities and the trials and tribulations they face through life, often from outsiders, i.e. money men and politicians. There is a thirty second intro that sets the scene, with the Midday Farm report apparently being a radio programme for the farmers. I’m guessing the programme is fictitious although the fact that I’ve been unable to track it down is no guarantee of such. There is a short vocal and electric guitar break midway, Pretty Thing, that includes radio distortion, which when you take into account some of the stories ensures there is a loose theme that runs through this well thought out recording. Coal is a tremendous song, with the gorgeous sound of a dobro on a really strong story of someone who turns to strip coal mining to make ends meet and the rifts the practice causes in communities and to the land itself. It really is a terrific and thought provoking alt. country tale with Tim’s vocals having just the right amount of gravel to them. This is followed by the just as excellent Hammer On Steel, a nice repetitive slow to medium paced tale about the passing down through family of practical skills. The song has a metronomic tempo that actually echoes ‘a hammer on steel,’ ensuring the tale could just as easily be a metaphor for the industrial manufacturing of the steel industry. A really atmospheric song. Allen Ramsey’s
The Farm Song (no other way) is a nice walking shuffle with acoustic guitar and lovely banjo with atmospheric harmonica on another sad story song, this one about a man who takes to smuggling drugs to get the money to keep the family farm going. There is the tremendously well written ‘comedy song’ Golf a paean to a game (or is it a sport?) that actually makes watching the grass grow an interesting passtime (or is it a sport?) It is areally good humourous tale that works and flows incredibly well. Politicians has a lovely mandolin sound on as good a summing up of these disreputable beings as any cynic (realist!?) could wish for!
It seems strange that with Tims overall musical quality he has had to wait this long to make a debut album and hopefully this excellent recording has opened the floodgates to his and the bands creativity.

Both hands point north for MidDay Farm Report

TRAVIS SWANN, tswann@murfreesboropost.com
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2012 12:00 am

The sounds of Ray Wylie Hubbard can spark many notions in the mind.

But when playing it in preparation for a family’s final barn dance, it, along with a few other factors helped ignite the MidDay Farm Report, a new rural rock ‘n’ roll group from Middle Tennessee.

The group is composed of members Tim Winton, Griffin Winton, Daniel Sheets and Chuck Haston.

"We all played together in different aspects. We rehearsed to say goodbye to the farm. It started rolling and it just came off cool," Tim Winton said about the group’s early beginnings.

"I was like we should explore this and see where it goes"

Taking it back to older times when things were trouble-free, the group takes the name from the moment in the day when time would stop for a few minutes to reflect and tune in to the radio.

More than 11 tracks on their latest self-titled album, the group crafts a social commentary of the world while perfecting the art of simple storytelling.

Kicking off the album is an introduction of audio clips and spoken word by Warren County historian and photographer, Bruce Atnip, who pours out a few lines of conversation with "both hands pointing north,"

"He had the voice and never left the area and also knows where we came from," Winton said about the choice for the introduction of the album.

The material is a mix of old songs mixed with new work such as "Politician" and "Hammer on Steel," a song inspired by Winton’s grandfather.

"We just went ahead and said what everyone was thinking. If you’re a career politician then I don’t have time for you," Winton said in reference to the subject matter of "Politician."

Another key track on the album is "Cherry Creek Mill," a song about skinny-dipping and good times growing up and the situations one may find them self in from time to time.

Winton had written this song years ago, but it definitely came into play at a meeting with ASCAP, where he shared the song with an executive across the table.

After exchanging the story and a few lyrics, the executive recalled similar times from his days in Texas, as the two states are similar in nature.

This one goes to show that wherever you are, there are always parallel stories that follow us all.

On the other hand, "Coal," another new song, was inspired by a mountain top removal group that Winton encountered while at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The subject on this track is close to the heart of Winton, as he can see the clear cutting taking place from his old home place.

On their first effort, MidDay Farm report gives every listener a good account of rural America and where it has been and where it is going.

With the album behind the group now, the next step is the road as they just held their album release show a few weeks ago.

"It has exceeded my expectations to what we can come up with in a barn. If I never make another one, then I’m proud of this one."

"We’re looking forward to festival season and getting ready for the fall," Winton said about their upcoming plans.

To hear samples from the album, visit

mdfr.bandcamp.com where the album is also available for purchase. You can also find the group on Facebook as well.