Alright. I’ll come clean. I’ve never been an Elton John fan. In fact, it was my mom who turned me on to the guy. Before my sweet mother introduced me to Tumbleweed Connection, I’d only invested loosely in building up my EJ catalog. It was all a tad sensational for my blood. I believe I made an obligatory greatest hits purchase at a used bookstore at some point. Then, came TC. TC marked not only the beginning of my interest in Elton but more the start of my musical journey into the backbeat-heavy, grit-spitting, southern sophistication, and general mid-tempo genius of Leon Russel’s track “Tightwire,” all the tunes off of “Music From Big Pink,” and Dr. John’s “In the Right Place.”
There’s nothing distinctly “Elton John” about TC. In fact, there weren’t any hit singles. And, I think that lack of pretense, along with the obvious twang and groove, is what I latched onto. In projecting what they imagined an old world American west to look like, two distinguished Brits (EJ and lyricist Bernie Taupin) actually landed fantastically in it. It’s the genre equivalent of dressing for the job you want and then getting it, not something most of us underachievers can swing. The album comes across as straight from the heart.
Campfire-friendly descriptors don’t necessarily come to mind when one marinates on an EJ playlist. Whether intentional or not, submitting to the country and western template and mythology gave Elton and Bernie room to lean on the team’s previously under-used storytelling bone making for an earnestly funky and timeless artifact.
Micah Dalton, ATL-Collective Co-founder