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It’s not usually my norm to meet an artist before reviewing their work. On rare occasions, I might want to talk with an artist after already knowing the quality of their music enough to write about it. But in the case of Timothy Palmer, I find myself making an exception. After being introduced to me by a mutual friend who had talked up his music, Timothy did not initially seem to be a man of many words. At my request, he pointed me to his new EP on iTunes, but we didn’t spend much time talking up front. Now, having sought it out and listened to it at least four or five times through, I can testify that The Half-Boy EP speaks for itself.
It’s difficult to decide where to begin with this one. First, it would probably be good to mention that Timothy is a local musician for those of us living in Abilene, Texas. He describes himself as an “indie/folk/pop” artist, although it’s hard to pin his work down to any one of those. Mostly, his songs feature piano, drums, and a little guitar accompaniment, but (unlike rock music), the album doesn’t seem tethered to any instruments in particular. Instead, Palmer’s voice is his main tool. As is the case with many solo artists, he has crafted a particular persona through the emphasis on his voice. Without needing to be loud, Timothy compacts a great deal of emotion into his words. His vocal quality is reminiscent of a cool mountain stream, a combination of natural wavering and a refreshingly solid, clear timbre.
Perhaps his greatest weapon, however, is his lyrical writing. Without coming across as forced or contrived, Palmer gives his words a ballad-like quality. There is a subtle sense of importance unassumingly bound to each line, but tempered with a certain confident ease. He certainly presents appealing sentiments that do well on an emotional level, yet there is seemingly no sacrifice in the intellectual tenacity of his songwriting.
As I said before, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Timothy’s particular formula work so well, but the authenticity of his work is apparent from every one of the six tracks on the EP. Not one seems thrown in for filler or less important than the others. Each is just as convincing a display of “Timothy-Palmer-ness” as any of the others, and each is likely worth just as much to its creator.