Features, Music October 7, 2015

The Art of Becoming Giants & Pilgrims

by Jed Murphy

window pic“You’re always moving, you’re always becoming. The soul is always dynamic. While the body might get old and die there is something inside us that is still fresh and learning better how to become a loving, patient, in depth human being,” says Tim Coons lead singer and songwriter for Giants & Pilgrims. I met Tim at John Galt Coffee on 16th St. in Greeley, Colorado where he and many other of the budding city’s artistic entrepreneurs’ have their unofficial office. From here Coons can usually be found coordinating his life as a full time musician and family man.

Now, as Tim gears up to release Becoming, the full-length follow up to his 2014 release Almanac No. 1, we find him returning to a simpler place as a musician. In doing so he found that life isn’t so much about growing up as it is about simply growing as a human being.

Tim and his wife Betony have been foundations in the Greeley art scene for more than a decade now; Tim working with many local musicians and Betony a prolific visual artist and promoter of local talent. In 2014, the couple formed a collaborative project called Giants & Pilgrims where the two would pair a song with a piece of visual art from Betony. That year they released Almanac No. 1 which featured a monthly handmade magazine of selected poetry, recipes, and all around good advice to coincide with a full-length album.

Almanac No. 1 was Tim finding a voice that elevated him above your run of the mill folk bands. It was experimental, it was risky, and it was polished, earning him some sweet ad spots including the use of one of his songs in a Cheerios commercial. Along with Betony creating some of her best work, they struck the creative vein they had been looking for.

On becoming an artist“I feel like Betony’s visual components made and completed the Almanac sound and vibe. This is the same case with Becoming. Besides the visuals, she and I both push each other intensely as to where the art is taken.”

Becoming follows Almanac No. 1 nicely without being too much of the same thing. Stepping back from recording in a traditional studio, Tim recorded almost everything himself using a basic microphone and Garageband at his home in Greeley.

“With this one there was such an ease for me. Probably the best experience I’ve had recording an album was Frailty, which was several albums ago. I had a cheap microphone and I would record in the basement. All the songs I was writing were very very intimate because I was processing all the feelings of ‘oh my gosh I’m going to die,’ (laughs) after my child was born. I think people go through this when they have kids or turn 40 there is this sense of my time here is finite and that had never hit me before until Lucy was born.”

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the recording process though. Becoming is a fully fleshed out album that breathes with a confidence and uniqueness that clearly shows that this is the music Tim wants to make. Bringing his expertise to Tim’s work once again is Dave Wilton of A Boy and His Kite.

“The reason Becoming sounds as good as it does is because of Dave Wilton,” says Tim.

Tim refers to Wilton as an industry “gatekeeper” and this description fits perfectly for the work Wilton does. For those familiar with his band A Boy and His Kite or Almanac No. 1, they will find a similar quaint airy surrealness present on Becoming that elevates the quality and the tone of the album. Tim simply provided the content and a vision and Wilton put a polish on it that brought that vision to life.

For Tim, it was the process of the producing that content that he enjoyed particularly for Becoming. Writing simple music with his friends in his own home brought a casualness to the songs that can be heard from beginning to end. “It was this really fun, family kind of affair where we would have Hayden Farr (of The Burroughs) come over and we would feed him and then we would go into the back studio and record through a cheap podcast mic.”

One thing this is for sure with Becoming, Tim and Betony have found their stride as artists. “If I can record an album in the basement and have a song used in a Cheerios commercial then I might as well do that and have a great time doing it and not sweat the studio time as much.”

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