'Tines of Stars Unfurled' is a bookend to Tim Rogers’ classic solo debut of ‘99 What Rhymes With Cars and Girls, marking the welcome return of his fiddle-and-squeezebox country-blues compadres The Twin Set, and the (slightly more temperate) barstool yarn-spinner’s perspective that made the You Am I frontman ARIA’s Best Male Artist 23 years ago.
At a point in time, if you were to hear the word ‘line’ and Tim Rogers in the same sentence, your mind would immediately race to the revered Aussie artist getting loaded in dingy backrooms of inner-city Melbourne venues. Now, many years later, it evokes the imagery of a slew of people ‘line-dancing’ at the Kentucky State Fair.
Yes, that’s right, Tim Rogers has gone country. And when I say that, I don’t mean he’s gone out West to pursue the ‘new sound’, I mean he’s gone full-on, boot-scootin’ country. Sure, it’s a move that will naturally upset You Am I purists who were hoping Rogers’ newest offering would be a rehash of the group’s iconic 90’s punk rock sound, but for the loyalists who have kept tabs on every nuance of the artists’ career, it’s a reinvention that’s been a long time coming.
Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.
This is not to say that Rogers hasn’t successfully reinvented his sound previously. If anything, it’s been quite the opposite, with fans still regarding his debut release with The Twin Set ‘What Rhymes With Cars and Girls?’ as one of Roger’s most powerful collections of work to date. This is a sentiment felt by many, Rogers not being one of them, with his newest album ‘Tines of Stars Unfurled’ (yes, that rhymes with ‘cars’ and ‘girls’) offering up addendums to some of the songs on the now iconic ‘99 debut.
Having stated that some of the pre-existing songs “no longer [rang] true”, Rogers decided to deliver new and reimagined takes on the old classics, offering up home truths (and at times rebuttals) from the perspective of the same songwriter 20 years on. This isn’t always pretty, but what journey of self-discovery is?
1999’s ‘I Left My Heart All Over The Place’, in which Rogers famously pens to a lover about trying to make himself better but still being a “sorry sack of shit”, evolves into the incredibly evocative ‘Left My Heart’, in which a now sober Rogers reflects on his years of partying only to resolve that “the money saved on powder, piss and pills” was only “doubled down on meds for his ills.” In another stark moment, the painstakingly honest ‘A Quiet Anniversary’, sees Rogers singing with candour about the happy relationship depicted in ‘Happy Anniversary’ gradually diminishing, leaving the songwriter with aching grief as he deals with solitude on their anniversary.
Presented with the wisdom of a hardened barfly; the wit of John Prine and the vulnerability of an AA meeting, Rogers’ newest release conveys more than just a stylistic reinvention, instead feeling like the debut of a whole new Rogers entirely. The big difference is, this time around he’s dropped the cool guy schtick…and the results have never been cooler.
Label: Virgin Music
Release date: 24/02/2023