The Edmonton Muse February 2019 - Page 32

Entertainer of the Month

Tim Isberg

SINGER...

SONGWRITER...

SOLDIER...

--Jazz Matthews--

I tried to think of a clever title for this article, but I kept coming back to what I saw when I first met Tim Isberg. To be honest, I don't remember the very first time I saw him, but I do remember him coming up to me, introducing himself and giving me his card. We have crossed paths a couple of times and even have him booked for a summer show this July. There was a time, almost thirty years where Isberg served our country in the Canadian Armed Forces. He has eight tours overseas and as such, his songwriting sometimes has subject matter that most can't relate to.Though he admits that joining the Forces was an economic decision of the eighties, serving your country for three decades is not something you do to get rich or as a sideline. Being a soldier is a lifestyle.

Before signing up, Isberg had always been playing music and came back to it on a more or less full time basis in about 2008. A few years earlier, in 2004 he even put out what he calls a "record", ageing yourself there Tim. He had been playing and someone heard, liked what he was doing and said let's put something together. The resulting project was an essentially off the floor, "live" recording that became a great learning experience. Isberg notes the result was more than a demo, but created within him the desire to learn more about the craft that would become the next chapter of his book...literally. Isberg is not only featured in the best selling book, Everyday Heroes, he is a contributing writer. This stint in the studio led to some chance meetings and contacts made in the Canadian country community and he was, as they say, bit by the bug. While still serving, he practiced and honed his skills. Songwriting, playing, performing, all started to move to the forefront of what he was doing, preparing him well for the day he would retire from the Armed Forces.

Just before that retirement day came, he released a second album. In his words, "more professional product, more prepared, better writing, got a producer" and moved forward from there. Branded now as a singer, songwriter, storyteller, soldier, Isberg also adds Americana, Roots and maybe Alt Country to the genres that he could fall into. However, those attending Tim's shows come from every walk and every place in life. You can hear the music anywhere but it's the stories, as with most songwriters that people come out to hear, to associate with the tunes they know.

That second, more professional disc, Tears Along The Road, was released in 2015. The title track is the song Tim was playing when I walked into the first session of the Songwriter's Circle during January's Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards Weekend. I caught it part way through and it was at that point, with the lyrics, "out here it's hard to tell, who might be friend or foe. I guess I'll always wonder how this life excites me so, " that I personally realized that there is a bigger story that Tim Isberg has to tell. More on that later. I have listened to the full version several times since then. I come away from this tune, hearing his solo acoustic take and hearing the obvious emotion in his voice, emotion that can only come from having lived what you are singing. The full version has that same emotion. For me, the goosebumps came from knowing he was there, that this was a true story and the melody captures that almost eerie walk along that road.