Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series Photo by John Partipilo
Fans always clamor to learn more about their favorite, most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell. Here’s one from Tim Easton.
How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?
Strong, shot in the dark, red-eye, sludgecup…every region has a name for a shot of espresso inside a cup of coffee. I love discussing this with my drug dealers, er, baristas, in the morning of whatever town I’m in. I also like Flat Whites.
What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road)?
Oh boy. So many over the years. People’s houses can get funky with a capital funk if you know what I mean. I’ve been really lucky in this department and have stayed in amazing places in Alaska, but I do recall a night with Matt The Electrician in Japan where we stayed on an organic farm and as we shared a meal with them a huge spider came up the wall…I mean, like 8 inches across, big and hairy, and everybody was like, oh, that’s Shijo the Spider, he eats the bugs. It was unsettling, as we settled down to sleep on the floor mats that night. There have been other nights in Japan, on the Oki Islands, where it was paradise. I love it there.
If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?
I guess Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” but then I would be crying all damn day. How about a full Bach playlist. I don’t know, I probably would go for something without lyrics.
What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?
Red Wing Boots.
What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road, and what’s your favorite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?
Sometimes I feel my life is like a low rent version of Anthony Bourdain’s life, without all the cameras. So much culture and amazing food along the way. Other days I’m eating at McDonald’s because I don’t have a choice. I could do without another Subway sandwich the rest of my life. I am actually planning a food tour of Spain with a few gigs right now. I love trying new things. I’ll be in Russia later this year. Looking forward to that menu too.
If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?
I really have too many answers for this one. The Shack-up Inn, Clarksdale, Mississippi comes to mind. It’s just the crossroads of just so much incredible American music, and where the Blues is still alive. Northern Spain. Southern Spain. Mallorca. Anywhere Spain! Scandinavia is incredible. My God. I absolutely adore Alaska, but of course, everybody knows that! A place where I could fly fish and get good coffee every day would be ideal.
What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?
Health tips from the pros. Drink lots of water, bring Oregano oil. Also, I can’t even remember who told me to make sure and learn the sound man’s name right away and ask how their day is going, but that one has stuck. It’s the most important name to learn each night. John Hiatt once told me that perhaps being in a physical relationship with my “tour manager” was not the best idea.
Find all things Tim Easton here: https://www.timeaston.com and our earlier review here: REVIEW: Tim Easton’s “Exposition” is Vibrant Personal Testimony with Indefinable texture
See other Key to the Highway interviews here: https://americanahighways.org/category/interviews/key-to-the-highway-series/ (click here for: Todd Snider Elizabeth Cook Tommy Womack Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Robbie Fulks, Malcolm Holcombe Jon Langford Steve Poltz, Lilly Hiatt Sarah Shook & the Disarmers ) Sign up for our weekly newsletter here for your Friday reminder for this series and more: