Album Review – Tim Goodin’s “True Stories and Flat Out Lies”

Old time hollerin’ from the hills and hamlets of Kentucky has gone from a has-been pastime for forgotten souls and fuddy-duddys to creating the very foundations for the country music revolution and setting the woods on fire. After the success of Tyler Childers and those before and after him, folks are turning over every rock in the Bluegrass State looking for the next authentic country crooner to crawl out.

Tim Goodin crawled out of Pineville, Kentucky and got the attention of many when he released an acoustic-only EP in 2022 that included the song “Son of Appalachia.” It got lodged in Saving Country Music’s Top 25 Playlist and wouldn’t come loose for quite a while since it captured the spirit of this obsession with all things Kentucky and Appalachia that folks in country music are currently fevered with.

It′s the sound of a distant train
Hauling the heart out of the mountain
The sound of a country church
Full of believers shoutin’
Lord there′s nothing more powerful than a drug called nostalgia
Sounds like home to me

A headlong search for that powerful drug will lead you to Tim Goodin, and his debut album True Stories and Flat Out Lies. Instead of trying to find close approximations to that Tyler Childers magic everyone’s trying to capture, Goodin went right to the source and hired the pedal steel player and guitarist for Tyler’s Food Stamps, James Barker, to produce the set, and roped the rest of the Food Stamps in to fill out the sound.

If you’re looking for the Appalachian sound that has gone untouched by the rapacious cretins in Nashville and their commercial interests, Tim Goodin is a good place to start. Released completely independently, this album is simple stories of life, love, and losing from eastern Kentucky. “Son of Appalachia” makes an appearance again, but this time with some biting electric guitar to distinguish itself from the original acoustic version, while other quality songs like “Sad Bird Still Sings” and “Hard Times” first featured on the 2020 EP get full versions here too.

New and original to this debut album are other songs that compliment the Tim Goodin repertoire like “Weathered and Worn” about young lovers married out of high school with one on the way, and “The Huntin’ Song” about carrying on traditions over generations. These are songs you can tell Tim Goodin doesn’t just sing, but that he lives, either himself or through his friends, family, and neighbors.

But for all the authenticity found on True Stories and Flat Out Lies, it struggles somewhat, and in a similar manner to the debut album from another riser in Appalachian country music, Logan Halstead. It’s like all the right pieces are there, but they’re not put together quite right, at least not yet. There’s an undercooked nature to some of the songs and some of the arrangements, like they were too rushed.

The struggle is how to capture the rawness of the expressions that make these Appalachian guys feel so real, while also doing something that compels a listening audience beyond the region, and in a crowded field of audio options. But also similar to Logan Halstead, you feel like Tim Goodin has all the right ingredients, and at times, puts it all together to deliver those spine-tingling moments only the most true country music can.

Opening for artists like The Steel Woods, and playing important festivals like Laurel Cove in Kentucky, Tim Goodin is getting on the radar nationally through his quality songs. True Stories and Flat Out Lies is a great start, and hopefully earns him the attention he deserves, and the support he needs to take his music to the next level.

1 1/2 Guns Up (7.5/10)

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