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Folkadelphia Session: Tim Kasher

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This is a special one for us here at Folkadelphia; it’s an honor to present this week’s Folkadelphia Session featuring one of my musical heroes, Tim Kasher. You may know Tim as the frontman for Cursive, the long-running seminal and wildly diverse sounding group, The Good Life, Kasher’s bleary-eyed, solo side project often turned full-band main focus, or perhaps as a figure and fixture of Omaha, NE’s Saddle Creek Records, which brought bands like Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, and Azure Ray to national recognition. Over the years, Kasher has continued to amaze and impress with his artful turns of phrase and his evolution as a songwriter in each project.

A quick look at Cursive, for instance, sees a change from the jittery guitar rock of Such Blinding Stars For Starving Eyes (1997) and The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song (1998) to the hugely thematic Domestica (2000) to the fleshed-out orchestration in The Ugly Organ (2003) and Happy Hollow (2006). These were both followed up by some of the most unique and progressive rock in recent years in their latest two releases (both criminally overlooked) Mama, I’m Swollen (2009) and I Am Gemini (2012). This is to say nothing of his other long-running project, The Good Life, and its evolution and frequent changes (solo to electro-acoustic to full band, oh my!)

The main take away is that Kasher has stuck to his guns and his whiskey bottle, and has waved off transient trends and popular opinion in favor of pursuing his own musical ideals. In the past couple years, this has been presented to us as a full-length (The Game of Monogamy) and outtakes record (Bigamy…), released eponymously, the first such as named for the man, Tim Kasher.

I want to thank Tim and his traveling companion and opening act Nate Kinsella (of Birthmark) for stopping by WXPN on March 13th before performing at Johnny Brenda’s on this short tour and heading back to the studio to record a new solo record.

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Tim Kasher of Cursive, The Good Life, every Saddle Creek band in the late ’90s, plays Johnny Brenda’s on March 13th

You have to tip your hat to musicians who have been around for forever, but continue to release high quality, highly diverse albums even if that means potentially alienating core fans or bucking musical trends. Tim Kasher is a master at biting his thumb at what is considered fashionable or “of-the-moment,” and thank god for that because it has allowed him and his various bands to create some of the most brilliant music of the last decade plus.I think of Cursive’s angst-laden Domestica (2000), the conceptual The Ugly Organ (2003), or this year’s masterful, yet criminally overlooked I Am Gemini. In 2004 with his regular side project The Good Life, Kasher released Album of the Year, a story-oriented record that continues to mean so much to me. In his latest incarnation, he has taken up the mantle of “damn-good singer-songwriter” under his own name, releasing The Game of Monogamy in 2010. He’s kind of the Bukowskian patron saint of writing sad sack, bleary-eyed songs of heartbreak, unrequited love, and self-loathing. I’m sure Tim Kasher will be pulling from his large catalog of songs when plays Johnny Brenda’s on March 13th. The label just announced the show in a string of Northeast tour dates today; on-sale information will be available shortly. Below, listen to Kasher performing an acoustic rendition of “The Jessica” on the air on XPN2 last year.