Tim Stop…used to be the Tim Stopulos Trio, then the Tim Stop Trio. Now, just Tim Stop (www.timstop.com) Whenever Tim plays in Chicago and I’m there, as well, I try to stop by, as when he played “Market” on Randolph Street. I wondered about band member Seville Lilly (the hat guy). Justin Hooks and Michael Tahlier are still onboard. (Justin just for the album, it seems.)
Tim’s CD back when I first wrote about him was “The Long Drive Home.” Now, he’s released a new set of “Songs of Separation,” and the universal theme should hit home for anyone who has loved and lost. The 27-year-old Davenport Assumption High School graduate puts all the emotion out there on the tracks. Therapeutic.
Most of Tim Stopulos’ new album “Songs of Separation” (released October 18th) focuses on the heartache and heartbreak that is impossible to avoid when you’re young and in love. Or old and in love. Or young and falling out of love. Or old and falling out of love.Boy meets girl. Boy dates girl. Boy and girl have a long-term relationship. Boy and girl break up to go in different directions. It’s a story as old as Adam and Eve.
The new CD out from Bettendorf’s Tim Stopulos (“Songs of Separation”) begins a favorite, a song entitled “Half A World Away.” Lyric: “You’re safe at home, you’re safe and warm, And I’m longing for one day when I find my way. I will find my place, even if it’s half a world away.” Melancholy. Minor key. One of my personal favorites on the album. Lyric: “Now I’m anxious as these thoughts inside my head begin to swirl about a history that’s only just beginning to unfurl. And I long for adaptation to an unfamiliar world.”
Coming from Stopulos in a John Mayer pop ballad vein, the songs on this new CD chronicle the age-old and familiar terrain of falling in and out of love. Influenced by such musicians as Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Ben Folds, Coldplay, Billy Joel, Radiohead (Thom Yorke) and Jeff Buckley, you can hear the Wake Forest graduate’s 22 years of piano lessons paying off in his composition and performance, and, more importantly to this writer, the lyrics are impressive, too.
The rhythms pick up on “A Little Bit Better,” the second song, which has some interesting and expert guitar work. It’s one of the most upbeat songs, despite this lyric: “It’s a different kind of alone when you’re locked and trapped inside your mind.” [Reminded me of a Sheryl Crow lyric: “I’m a stranger in my own life.”]
Third song on the CD, “Rollin’“, has the line, “I know I should leave you, but my heart won’t let me go.” Next up, “Unconditional:” “Wherever you are, I love you. Whatever you do, I always will. I hope some day you’ll find me. My love is…Wherever you are, just call my name. I’ll race across this empty state. I’d leave tonight to find you, ‘Cuz my live is unconditional. It’s unconditional.” (Wow! You’re a better man than me, Charlie Brown. I remember some break-ups that left me feeling pretty bitter; this guy’s much more forgiving.)
Next up was “Something’s Gotta’ Give,” (which, judging from the sound of young Tim’s weekend at the Iowa Hawkeye game, written up on his blog, may well be his health. Sounded like a long, crazy weekend!)
“Professional,” a song with a slightly more cynical slant about a girl who “doesn’t change for anybody” was less devoted than “Unconditional.” I liked “Professional” a lot. [Maybe I’ve grown more cynical in my old age. You think?]
“Malaga,” the 7th song, is the only one that didn’t seem to focus on the break-up of a relationship. A bit more of a “carpe diem” philosophy, expressed musically.
“Whisper in the Wind” is a melancholy melody that references the death of a young friend from cancer and wonders where she is (“Did she find God or does she wander in the wind to remind the world of a life that could’ve been but never was.”) After spending Halloween night at a local funeral home— [thankfully, not for a person cut down in their prime]—I could relate. (And, by the way, there’s no place creepier to spend Halloween night!) This song has a wistful air of melancholy, and is performed beautifully.
“After You” opens with a ticking sound. Liked it. Lyrics: “I recall she said that if I left I would go alone..she wouldn’t have the strength to follow me, and now I’m gone, so alone is what I chose to be. But I didn’t choose this life, I told her, it chose me.” That one sounds very autobiographical for a musician on the road trying to make it in the music business.
There is no mention of “Every Day” on my liner notes, but that is the last song on this impressive, original CD, “Songs of Separation.” Tim just played with Deas Vail at Legends of Notre Dame and he’s set to hit the following venues in the next few days or weeks:
11/3 – Janesville, Wisconsin, Timeout @ 9:00 P.M.
11/4 – Lindey’s, East Troy, Wisconsin @ 9:00 P.M.
11/5 – Lindey’s, East Troy, Wisconsin @ 9:30 P.M.
11/9 – Crow Valley (Country Club), Davenport, IA
11/10 – Rockit, Chicago, IL 9:00 P.M.
11/23 – Jersey Grille, Davenport, IA
Time off for the holidays, then:
1/20 – The Livery, Benton Harbor, MI
1/27 – The Redstone Room, Davenport, Iowa
Stopulos wrote all the words and music on this expertly produced CD, with help from Michael Tahlier on electric guitar, Tim Seisser on bass, Khari Parker on drums, Matt Nelson on Rhodes/organs, Justin Hooks on percussion with Packy Lundholm on “Something’s Gotta’ Give.” The artwork is by Josh Nelson and photography by Matt Wince, with production by Tim and Bob DiFazio, Engineering/editing mixing by DeFazio, vocal production by El Thornton and Justin Hooks and mastering by Danny Leake at Urban Guerillas.
Among other accolades thrown around about the handsome young singer are: “energetic, soulful, sophisticated songwriter, wonderful voice, mesmerizing stage presence” Hard to top those already-used descriptions. Let me just say: “Ditto.”
Check out his songs on YouTube. Better yet, buy a copy at www.timstop.com or Cdbaby.com. But don’t worry about his broken heart. Something tells me there’s someone out there eager to help nurse it back to health.