Reverend Tim & The Pew Rats
The "BACOT BLUES" Sessions
Flat Hat Productions, Lynnwood WA

And so it begins... 

Years of writing & directions, followed by a few months of focused thought, leading to this moment in time...

In Dec. '14, I bounced the name idea (Reverend Tim & the Pew Rats) off my friend, Patrick Alexander, and (with a snicker) he said it was pretty good -- although we both agreed that some may be taken back or offended by the name, seeing that I am not a Reverend & this is not a gospel project.

Years ago, my friend Michael Bloodgood (musician & pastor) was asked to speak at a memorial or funeral (I can't recall the specifics) in a Catholic setting. He, not being Catholic, was introduced as "Reverend," which he thought was funny, thinking, "...if they only knew..."

My use of Reverend is a nod to this, ...if they only knew...

This project is not designed to mock beliefs or belittle faith, but rather serve as a search within my own heart & soul, while creating some cool blues.

Who are the Pew Rats? The Pew Rats is not an official band, but friends I have asked (and will ask) to help. Perhaps, one day, this disc will help bring others by my side to form an official band...we'll see. 

As it stands at time of publication, the core of the Rats consists of
Rafael Tranquilino (guitars)
Chris Tussing (drums, percussion, production)
Leah Tussing (back-up vocals...possible duet?)
and me (vocals)

with these honorary Rats joining us during productions:
Randy Oxford (trombone)
Mike Marinig (sax & multi-instrumentalist)
Brandon Hailey (sax)

(I have a shout out to a couple others, and will announce them when official. I have yet to find someone to play keys or bass at this time...Rafael has offered to play bass, at least on the first track.)

Why "Pew Rats"? My friends are not church mice, some might not even darken the door of a church. Pew rats are folks that don't necessarily click with your average Sunday morning crowd. As I said, this is not a gospel project; no browbeating on it, just soul searching in the key of B(lues).

...which brings us to now.

Over the course of the last (ehem) years, I have been writing and brainstorming various ideas...and then "it" happened. It. Maria & I like to see live shows...mostly local...and in the process, my heart began getting tugged by the raw honesty of the Blues, the feel, the vibe, the stories... Now, like any good rocker kid, I listened to a LOT of Stevie Ray Vaughan (followed by Kenny Wayne Shepherd), but never fully embraced blues as an identity. Until now. Local artists, like The Randy Oxford Band and The CD Woodbury Band, were speaking to me in ways that, quite simply, rock couldn't. Now don't be thinking it's an age thing, "If it's too loud, you're too old," coz that's not it. Blues just...speaks.

After talking with The Rafael Tranquilino Band's vocalist/manager Leah Tussing -- and co-owner of Flat Hat Productions (along with her dad, Chris Tussing), I decided this was the direction I wanted to take with my ideas and get them out there -- anywhere -- to be heard. Building up a friendship with area musicians has also helped, forming a studio "band" of sorts. The project is slated to have seven tunes, but may expand to a full disc (depending on time & funds, as well as schedules), including two cover tunes.

On Tuesday, May 12, Rafael and I began tracking at Flat Hat with Chris Tussing at the helm. Our mission was to get a good foundation for the first song, "Perfect Blues," by The 77s/Michael Roe, a ruckus blues rocker about the struggles of being perfect -- something all of us can identify with:

I'm only one bad apple but 
I've spoiled a whole bunch 
I'm rotten to the core 

Rafael picked up the vibe of the song pretty quick & laid the rhythm guitar down nicely. Leads to follow, along with bass, in the next session. There is a Jerry Lee Lewis-esque piano solo before the final guitar solo...not sure how we're doing that one, yet. May have the horn section have fun for a good chunk of the 6-minute song! We'll see...

Vocally, I started off cold, as I have not been in a studio for quite some time... BUT! This is just a scratch track. Gonna get a LOT more 'tude going for the final version, some swagger, some...mas tequila! Oops...Hide the beer, the pastor's here... **

(** Swirling Eddies reference)

The other cover tune is a SRV-ified version of "A Change is Coming" by LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends -- but that's for another adventure of this Pew Rat further along down the road.

Future updates won't be quite as long, I assure you; I just wanted to catch you up and get this journey going. I hope you stick around, it's gonna be fun!  And no worries: NW Groove will always have reviews of local region blues-based (and some not so bluesy) artists and not just become a blog for this new venture.

Keep on Groovin On ~
Church is dismissed!


Reverend Tim & the Pew Rats
The Rafael Tranquilino Band
The Randy Oxford Band
The CD Woodbury Band
The 77s
Flat Hat Productions

PS: Is it just me, or do I look kinda like Sweet Danny Ray in the above pic?

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    TSSutherland is a lover of music that thumps, bumps, rocks & wails! An avid believer in supporting local arts, this page will feature reviews of NW Blues, Rock & Funk.


    January 2014