Tiny Legs Tim (Tim De Graeve, °1978) is a finger-picking virtuoso and talented slide guitarist with an instantly recognizable voice. He's also a fine lyricist and a gifted songwriter with a strong feel for melody and clarity resulting into an ever-growing collection of personal compositions based on his eclectic love of blues and roots music.
No wonder TLT's records and shows set him apart entirely. Tiny Legs Tim is a nod to his thin legs, a consequence of the many years he spent in hospital fighting for his life - an experience adding to the authenticity of his lyrics and delivery. For sure, this Belgian cat's got the blues.
While staying true to his blues roots and the acoustic masters that fuelled his passion, Tiny Legs Tim is perfecting his skills as a songwriter and widening his musical scope at the same time. 'Stepping Up', his widely acclaimed third album, marks the start of that new phase.
You may still come across Tiny Legs Tim as the one-man band that took the scene by surprise in 2008. Back then, the thirty-year old debutant had been in and out of hospital for six years fighting for his life. The first original material based on this most personal experience came shortly afterwards. It was profoundly inspired by black acoustic players from the 20s till the 50s, such as Son House. Ever since, his fan base has grown and seasoned peers have paid their respect.
Not one to repeat success for the sake of it, TLT moved on artistically. Having written his own material from the onset, he is profiling himself as a singer-songwriter who is familiar with all the genres roots music has to offer. He opted to record 'Stepping Up' as a four-piece electric band and personally hand-picked top professionals.
Both the album and the shows prove the electric band is the perfect vehicle to lay down this development. Whether it's the variant on soft country blues in Heart Of the City or plain John Lee boogie in Walk With the Devil, the new tunes are still steeped in the tradition, especially courtesy of the slide guitar and the harp. Steeped firmly, but no more than hip-deep, giving TLT the opportunity to add his mark: New Orleans marching drums (Get It Back), a rockabilly rhythm section (I Got Something) or the timeless feel of the folk and C&W liaison in If & Why. That one sees him balance nicely on the brink of the blues, but all in all roots music remains at the core.
His singer-songwriter status shouldn?t come as a total surprise, since TLT added his melodic stamp early on, as in When I Fall from the second album.
As a result, he is reaching audiences that are not necessarily familiar with the blues and can now be increasingly found playing the alternative circuit.
Mind you, TLT has left intact the characteristics that set him apart. The idiosyncratic lyrics based on his very own voyage: these almost intimate accounts of severe suffering as in Please Dr., Please (Let me die or let me go) or the celebration of victory over death (Can't Win Them All) are rare, even in blues land. His distinctive voice still adds rising and falling intonations to the lyrics, as well as irony and relativity. Finally, there's the continuous base-line and melody, both in the slide and the finger-setting.
"Tiny Legs Tim explores all corners of the blues; he knows it like the back of his hand. His weapons of choice are beautifully tempered guitar playing with a brutal side of slide, a pleasantly dreamy voice and a golden pen from which songs flow that you will start humming effortlessly after only listening once or twice." JAZZISM (NL)
"For me this Belgian bluesman is a real discovery and it?s clear we do not need to despair. High quality blues is still being produced and Tiny Legs Tim is the proof." BARNOWLBLUES (NL)
- 1. Religions Serve The Devil Well
- 2. Hard To Admit
- 3. Death Letter
- 4. Love Is Worth A Fight
- 5. Evil
- 6. Melodium Rag
- 1. Hardcore Blues
- 2. Little Bit Of Lovin'
- 3. Happiest Man In Town
- 4. Second Round
- 5. Down To This
- 6. Victory