Love. That sums it up. Transcendent love. There’s no bs, no hype, no bells and whistles when it comes to J Tillman. He’s an artist with such immense gravity, he practically burns a hole in the floor where he’s standing. I have perceived Josh as a character of dense dolor, haunted by the deep longing of an ever-persistent ache. I spotted him with his gang across the street at the taco truck on Eagle Rock Blvd just before his session. Even from a considerable distance, his presence was unmistakably huge. When I had the pleasure of meeting him face to face, I was relieved to find Josh rather light and compellingly kind. His brother, Zach, and Josh’s companion, Aja, joined him, rounding out a veritable low-key love fest with their sincere support.
Josh Tillman innately carries a hush of awe to his surroundings. It’s not that he “commands the room”. He comes across both humble and rooted in truth. The awe arrives in the form of sheer and absolute stunning beauty. J Tillman’s music truly rings with the all encompassing, sacred beauty that floods his veins and spills over into his songs.
You’ll easily get lost in the songs. They’ll likely cut your heart to the ground and make you cry. But they’re far from a wallow. Tillman’s clear voice, emanating from a fathomless aquifer, meets his powerful writing and elegant guitar to make for a sparse yet profound experience.
In champion, giving form, Tillman offered us 7 gems. Above All Men from Vacilando Territory Blues (1/27/09, Western Vinyl) strikingly points to simple blessings. This was only the second time he’d played the song (the first was when he recorded it). Year In The Kingdom and Marked In The Valley are from his newest full-length, Year in the Kingdom (9/8/09, Western Vinyl). Borne Away On A Black Barge (this version is an earthshaking a cappella trio) and Wild Honey Never Stolen are on a new 7″ released from Western Vinyl. Find it here. Casualties comes from I Will Return/Long May You Run (10/28/08). It’s potent and poignant, elucidating the sadness of moral emptiness and misplaced values. And Diamondback is an unreleased treat.
I did get lost in these remarkable recordings. So much that I disappeared from the blog here for days (sorry) and ended up cutting videos for every one of the songs. I think you’ll love them that much, too. Look for a new video everyday. You can think of it as a Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice gift from us and Josh Tillman.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):
Special thanks to Dave Trumfio and his family for accomodating this session at their awesome studio, Kingsize Soundlabs in Eagle Rock (LA), CA.