Cootes Leland (nee Tim Gibbons) – Trail Of Smoke

For such a simple record this one has taken a long time to see the light of day. Tim started to drop-by our studio well over a year ago (maybe it was two years ago), just him and his guitar and banjo, he would record a few songs, and then I wouldn’t see him for a few more months until he’d drop by again and lay down a few more gems. After a few sessions like that we decide to try and expand the arrangements a bit and we invited Ray Farrugia in to accompany Tim on drums. Tim would then add guitar or bass or banjo and maybe a backing vocal or two. Sometimes Tim and Ray would play to one of the earlier recordings that Tim had recorded and sometimes they’d start fresh and the song would head in a different direction. Tim wanted to keep it all very loose and very natural and I agreed. These songs sounded to me like they were reaching back to the late 60’s and 70’s era of the great Texas singer-songwriters. Those were the songs that had got me hooked on song-writing, so I loved just sitting there and listening to Tim do his thing. After we were all happy with what we had recorded and had declared it loose and lazy enough to fulfill Tim’s vision, I added a guitar track or two (because I couldn’t resist) and then I sent some tracks to our friend Joby Baker, who added some very special B3 parts. We then sat on it all a little longer while more pressing matters took hold. Eventually I got around to mixing it and when that was done Tim and I fussed with what should be left off and what should be left on and then we fussed with the sequence and then we fussed with the artwork. Finally when we had it all ready to go off to the manufacturer, Tim had a revelation and decided to change the name of the project to Cootes Leland so those changes were made and finally…we had a record. This is about as lazy and casual a set of songs that you are bound to come upon in this day and age of pro-tools bumping; Garage Band quantizing; and vocal auto-tuning. It’s dirty and sloppy and laid bare. Take a listen and if you go in for this sort-of-thing, buy a copy…there’s not many of us left out there and even fewer that go by the name of Cootes.