Reaching 10 albums is a milestone that not every musician gets to celebrate. But Tim Easton will reach that marker with his forthcoming LP You Don't Really Know Me, out August 27 via Black Mesa Records. Today, he's premiering the roots-infused title track exclusively with Holler. Watch the music video, directed by Chad Cochran, below.
In the autobiographical song, Easton sings about being born near the "raging" Niagara River in Lewiston, NY, and growing up the youngest of seven children. "This is easily the most personal tune I've ever written", Easton said. "I wanted to write a song about my family. I wanted to honor the things they taught me".
But the song doesn't settle on a rosy-eyed look at the past. It shifts halfway through, hinting at mistakes Easton has made as a result of his life on the road playing gig after gig. "Sometimes you learn from your mistakes/ Other times you stubbornly nurse the pain", he sings.
Still, he resists letting those missteps define him. "In some ways, it's a recovery album", he said in a press release. "Not only recovery from a vice, but also recovery from a divorce and a destructive, rambling life of self-centered gratification. It's a peaceful, positive, loving album - an album about personal revolution".
According to Easton, 'You Don't Really Know Me' originally began as a softer piano ballad, but the song picked up an edge as the Americana singer/songwriter reflected on his childhood. Although he was born in upstate New York, Easton grew up in Ohio. "I decided to put some Midwest meat and potatoes American music underneath it with a Neil Young-ish backbeat and riff", he explained.
That shift - from how something started to what it became - reflects the song's central message. Things may look a certain way from the outside, but the reality is far different. "You don't really know me/ You really know next to nothing about me", Easton sings with a gravelly contour to his voice. Near the end of the song, his guitar grows more celebratory, a nod to where he's been and where he's going.