Review Summary: This is one that will stand the test of time.
It never ceases to amaze me the people who expertly proclaim, “Slash is such a God on the guitar; easily one of the best alive.” Andy Timmons is one of those guys I bust out to enlighten these uninformed souls because he’s insanely talented, yet ear-friendly enough that individuals with rudimentary music knowledge can hear his work and still comprehend what he’s doing. Timmons’ That Was Then, This Is Now
is an outstanding instrumental album that both jams hard and puts on a display of skill & creativity that few (and I mean few) axe-wielding musicians can match.
“Cry For You
” is one of the most beautiful somber pieces I’ve ever heard conceived on an electric guitar. Timmons can explain himself in 6:53 with 6 strings better than an average human can do in an hour with their mouth. “Cry For You” takes the listener through a journey of ups and downs and numerous climaxes that is terrifyingly effective at conveying Timmons’ feelings of resentment, regret, disappointment, and anger. Consider “Cry For You” a mini story in itself, because I think it’s intended to be. The sound production of the track sounds a little more vintage than the rest of the record does as it was originally recorded in the mid ‘90s.
One defining characteristic of Timmons is that he clearly possesses virtuosic abilities, but opts to show it in extreme moderation. It wouldn’t surprise me if the guy sounded like Malmsteen running through his warm up exercises; but he instead chooses to direct his efforts towards blues and jazz melodies that put emphasis on quality never quantity. Furthermore, saying Timmons is “good” at what he does would be an understatement of epic proportions. Another song that exemplifies all these ideas is “Pink Champagne Sparkle
”, which I’ll also mention has one of the most tasteful driven tones I’ve ever heard during the solos. Timmons’ tone along with his ability to seamlessly blend legato and picking methods results in solos that are crisp, clean, and flawless.
Whereas most guitarists become predictable and get stuck in the rut of playing a certain way, Timmons covers a range of styles and is largely unpredictable; being unpredictable in itself has become a trait of his. I.e. “Farmer Sez
”, which is a short allegro piece that sounds like it came straight from the back roads of Mississippi. That Was Then, This is Now
has so many fantastic melodies that it’s impossible for me to touch upon even a fraction of them, so here are a few more general recommendations- “It’s Getting Better
” has a dynamic solo and brilliant dual-guitar harmonies, “Electric Gypsy
” has noteworthy clean playing, and “Carpe Diem
” is a wonderfully-executed upbeat song that’s guaranteed to improve one’s mood.
All in all, Timmons is a supremely talented human being that has an authentic sound and style that may be be impossible to carbon copy. Regardless of whether Timmons’ style is one’s cup of tea or not, to me it seems it would be out of the realm of possibility to fathom listening to That Was Then, This Is Now
and not come away at least having the utmost respect for the album and Timmons, if not instantly becoming a fan altogether. In a Jam-Rock sense, Timmons is a slayer.
“It’s Getting Better”
“Cry For You”
“Pink Champagne Sparkle”
“A Night To Remember”