Somewhere between the United States of Neil Young and the Republic of Trip Hop wanders a man names Tim Qualls. His debut EP, This is Our Land, combines a hell of an acoustic strum-and-pick with a low-down blues beat that keeps the funk just funky enough to set it apart from the plethora of singer-songwriters dotting the landscape. The four-song release from Red Tree Music Group starts with the title track,
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. Though it's not the most poetic political diatribe ever sung, the message is sincere, and oh so well-sung. It's beat give it an almost Sneaker Pimps sort of groove that is positively toe-tapping. By purposeful contrast, the second track "Vain" lacks the depth of "This is Our Land," and what it loses in trip it picks up in hip. Basically a long list of exactly how awesome Qualls considers himself, the song nevertheless has a lot of legs with its combination Lenny Kravitz-style guitar and rather outlandish self-compliments. You've heard someone referred to as built like a brick shithouse, but this has got to be the first time that someone has said they were built like an Aztec temple. Might as well aim high.
The EP rounds off with two acoustic recordings from the studio, and lack the awesomeness of Qualls's backing band. Though these tracks illustrate just how talented a guitarist Qualls really is, they are somewhat out of place, and make the EP feel more like a single. But "This is Our Land" and "Vain" are well worth the price of admission, and Tim is certainly worth watching.