Tim + Richard
By Greg Hartman
Anyone who has spent time behind the scenes at live shows quickly learns there is one person you don’t mess with- the sound engineer. A good sound engineer can make an amazing group sound horrible or can salvage a decent show out of musical mishaps. When you combine two sound engineers into a band and add in a complex mix of organic and electronic sounds, you get a duo who can adapt to anything. Versatile, creative, and charismatic describes the resulting project, Tim + Richard.
Tim Jennings and Richard Crespin have been playing together for 6 years, first as the rowdy, raw, rock group, No Cash Value. The band had a great following, but the dynamics of a large band made practice and gig planning difficult. As their first band began to lose steam, Tim and Richard wanted to continue playing at a somewhat smaller scale. Both have extensive experience setting up for shows, with Richard traveling across the western slope setting up large venues for Snob Productions and Tim handling the arduous task of hosting karaoke and formerly a local radio show. With their knowledge, they felt they could raise the bar for both sound and light production, even at a smaller scale as a duo.
Tim and Richard’s attention to detail and presentation has made them a popular draw for everything from bar shows to weddings. Their deceptively simple instrumentation, an acoustic guitar and cajon, allows them to travel light or create a full audio and video spectacle. Richard’s cajon, a box-like drum with strings inside, is a deceptively simple tool that is used to create a full wall of sound. The instrument is custom tuned, fully microphoned, and then run through a processor that increases bass and ambient noise. Truly a bionic instrument, the cajon provides Richard with 5 distinct sounds that he can use to make the duo sound much larger.
Tim uses a few effect pedals for his acoustic guitar to add to the soundscape that results in fun, charming, poppy rock songs. Jennings has a classic, singer/songwriter delivery that at times evokes the greatest in the genre without imitating them. The sets are about 70% originals, with a rotating list of covers that varies from country, pop, blues, and even Brittany Spears. Constantly monitoring his crowd, Tim shifts up set lists to keep seeing what he wants in the crowd- people dancing, tapping their feet, and smiling. New songs are constantly being written, debuting at Mesa Theater open mic nights on Monday evenings. If a song doesn’t get the intended response, it is either discarded or sent back to the drawing board.
All the great preparation, lights, microphones and attitude can’t fix one thing- forgetting an instrument. Last summer the duo had a show at a winery in Utah, while Richard’s cajon was left behind in Grand Junction. Not wanting to cancel the show, the two first searched local music stores and contacts for a replacement. None could be found, but a substitute was improvised. The winery had sturdy, wooden boxes for transporting new wine purchases. Richard bought one for $45 and the two were able to mic up the box to get a suitable drum sound. While Richard had to strike the thick wood, none of the patrons noticed something was different. When they revealed the improvised instrument, the crowd was amazed and the winery ended up giving them a bonus to cover the cost of the box. What could have been a disaster turned into a great show and an invitation to return.
That kind of creativity and versatility defines the band’s identity and approach to booking shows. In the past year, they have played shows in bars, breweries, festivals, and even on the awning in front of mesa theater. They are as at home playing during the farmer’s market as they are in a packed house at Cruisers.
Tim + Richard released two EP’s were released in short runs in 2016 and a new release is scheduled for February 3rd at Mesa Theater. Titled the Green EP, the disc will feature all new acoustic rock songs. Later in 2017, the band is planning on compiling parts of the three EPs and recording their first full album. While it took time for the two to develop their songwriting chemistry, they have found the right formula and hope to continue to bring smiles to listener’s faces, no matter where they find themselves playing.