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,
. 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.
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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.