Tuesday, February 21, 2017

First/Last - Tim Vitullo

"With his latest statement, Vitullo mixes the best of his blues, rock, and pop influences to present a dozen examples of "adult alternative album rock." Songs like “Josephine” are concise and accessible with a smooth delivery and a sly sense of humor. Ballads “Letters” and “A Different Kind of Blue” are earnest experiments in confessional-style songwriting flanked by dense vocal and horn arrangements. Further, burners “Interstate Jesus,” “Black & White Wonderful,” and “Pretty Good” flash the guitar prowess that has been Vitullo’s calling card since his earliest musical ventures."

Tim Vitullo is a Pittsburgh singer-songwriter who is currently working on a follow up to his debut full length Josephine & Assorted Train Songs from 2015. He will be opening up the night this Thursday (2/23) for The Marcus King Band at Diesel on the Southside. I want to thanks Tim for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Tubthumper by Chumbawamba. We all have dark secrets in our pasts.

Your last album bought?
I just went on a shopping spree at LUNA, an ultra-rad record store in Indianapolis, over the holidays and snatched some old favorites for my collection. They were: Trace (Son Volt), Magnolia Electric Co. (Songs: Ohia), Seven Swans (Sufjan Stevens), Real Animal (Alejandro Escovedo), Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (The Flaming Lips), and Weezer (Blue) (Weezer).
While I didn’t buy it, someone was kind enough to gift me a repressing of Pink Moon by Nick Drake that same day about which I’m all kinds of giddy.

Favorite album of all time?
Each time someone asks me this question I break out in a panic and cold sweat. It’s my own personal “immovable object versus the unstoppable force” debate. Ha!
That said, if I must pick just one album to take the top spot, I pick Paranoid by Black Sabbath. Hearing that record for the first time was the cataclysmic event that made me want to become a guitarist!

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
That new Dawes album, We’re All Gonna’ Die, wasn’t my speed. I was excited to hear what Duane Betts would add to the group in the studio, but this record eschews the band’s and his strengths for genre exercises and experiments. Here’s to hoping for more Americana and less electronic funk in the future. First concert attended?
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic in Myrtle Beach, SC with my dad, uncle, and cousin. It was 500% cooler than anything 10-year old me could have ever imagined.

Last concert?
A punk rock show at Mr. Roboto Project! Distant Futures, our friends, were on the bill with some other out of town acts.

Favorite concert ever?
Ever? That’s a tough one too...
Americanafest in Nashville this past year was most excellent, but I don’t think that’s fair to count it as just one “concert.” I attended Eric Clapton’s last Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden, but that similarly seems like cheating to pick.
I suppose it would have to be My Morning Jacket at Terminal 5 in 2011. They played the entirety of their album Z that night. My friends and I had specifically chosen this show, although there was some serious debate about making the pilgrimage the day before to see and hear all of It Still Moves instead.
I will forever have one image burnt into my mind from that concert. Just as the band dug into the bridge of “Gideon,” an eruption of neon green, blue, and pink glowsticks spewed into the air from the center of the crowd. They rained down upon us as Jim James and Carl Broemel unleashed their twin guitar fury and brought the song to a climax. I know not the who, why, or how attached to that event, but it was one of those special moments when a band, their music, and a room full of humans became something more than the sum of the parts.
Just when I thought things couldn’t have gotten any better, Carl Broemel gave a saxophone masterclass during a cover of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” in the encore. It was decidedly awesome.

Least favorite concert?
Gary Clark Jr. was disappointing last summer. I’ve seen him burn down arenas single-handedly before and this was underwhelming. The set list and his playing left me cold. Everyone has off nights though, so forgive and forget.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is my home! I was born and raised here!
It’s been inspiring, albeit unplanned, to be a resident witnessing the changes taking place in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas over the past few years. The amount of art, food, and technology filing into town lately is exciting. There’s never been a more fun time to be a ‘Burgher (except maybe 1979). I’m proud to call this is my city.
Oh, and let’s go Bucs!
Thanks, Tim. It's weird when an artist you have seen before have an 'off night' for whatever reason. There is no explanation, but something just doesn't feel right. And next time you see them, they kick ass! I am glad to hear you won't hold that against Mr. Clark.

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