These days, J. Tillman is best recognized as the man at the back of a very large and very popular stage: Tillman has been the drummer for Fleet Foxes for the past year, during which time the band's indie rock cred has grown exponentially. But long before that fame, Tillman gained a reputation as a Seattle singer-songwriter in his own right, performing on smaller stages with just himself and his guitar. And fittingly, the long-haired, bearded musician writes melodic songs about being alone, filled with "ooohs" and occasional additions of drums or stringed instruments. This is more like the slowcore popularized by Duluth's Low Tillman even does a killer cover of "In the Drugs" that the Foxes' folk. Songs like "James Blues" sound more like stories than songs, where the author is trying to make sense of life. And whether or not Tillman succeeds in his search for meaning, it's worth following him on the musical journey.
Fri., April 3, 8 p.m., 2009