Tim Pritchard enlists new collaborators on search for his Pet Sounds
It would be easy to mistake Tim Pritchard’s persistent smile for a carefree spirit. Though Pritchard is extremely affable, and has an easy demeanor, he pauses to reflect for a few seconds before responding to questions about his music and artistic goals. Simply, there is more than meets the eye here, which seems appropriate considering the thoughtful and deliberate nature of his band’s output.
For instance, with It Shall Be Revealed, the full-length record Pritchard and his band The Boxcar Suite recorded with local recording wiz and Motel Beds guitarist Darryl Robbins and released in mid-2012, he has difficulty narrowing down a lyrical theme because of the breadth and scope of the ideas he’s presented in his music.
“I think there are a lot of existential themes and questions I was hoping to answer with that record,” Pritchard reflected. “If I had to narrow it down to a simple thematic idea, I’d probably say the theme was trying to find the beauty in a sometimes bittersweet world.”
Musically, It Shall Be Revealed covers a lot of ground. While Pritchard acknowledges distinct influences from the Americana and alt-country worlds, there are also rock n’ roll, pop and psychedelic influences there.
“I’m very influenced by artists like Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and more contemporary bands like Wilco and My Morning Jacket,” Pritchard admitted.
Pritchard also admitted that while his music-obsessed peers growing up in Dayton, Ohio inundated themselves with Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, he always leaned more towards power-pop bands Superdrag and Nada Surf. These influences present themselves as a pop undercurrent in much of his current and past output.
Pritchard is also quick to credit a “broader palette of sound” to new collaborators, Phil Caviness (bass, vocals), Trevor Bell (drums) and Tony Moore (guitars).
“Although I write most of the songs on my own, and a lot of them were originally written with the intent of my performing them acoustically, the arrangement of the songs for record is completely collaborative,” Pritchard explained. “Writing with these guys has been more of a ‘band approach.’”
It Shall Be Revealed is not Pritchard’s first rodeo. He has written songs for as long as he can remember. His first guitar teacher performed in local band Pastures Green, and Pritchard credits him with teaching him the technique of learning how to play pop songs acoustically. As a student at Kettering Fairmont, Pritchard’s confidence in his playing grew and he joined and performed with the Fairmont Jazz band.
In his early twenties, Pritchard became recognized on the local rock circuit with his bands Flyaway Minion and Floods. “I think I really began to come into my own and discover the Tim Pritchard sound while playing with Patrick Himes in Flyaway Minion. I learned a lot playing and recording our record at BHA with him.”
While in his mid-twenties, Tim Pritchard relocated to Athens, Ohio, to finish college. But even while he was two-and-a-half hours from Dayton, he found musicians to play with who were also from the Gem City, including friend Dave Shields, his brother and members of Bonneville. During those years, Pritchard did some performing at Jackie O’s, Casa Nueva and Donkey coffeehouse.
He returned to Dayton a few years ago, and currently splits his professional time between jobs at Five Rivers Metroparks, marketing and media management for his family’s restaurant, Christopher’s in Kettering, and his own landscaping business.
Though Tim Pritchard and The Boxcar Suite are a D.I.Y., independent band currently, Pritchard remains optimistic that the band might someday find a record label interested in supporting and releasing their efforts, which he expects would help with distribution and exposure. Until then, the band remains busy recording a new record with Shrug bass player Brian Lakatos.
“We’ve tracked nine songs and are hoping to have that wrapped up by this Summer,” Pritchard said. “We also hope to start a second record with Darryl Robbins for release this year, too.”
The band is also practicing – in the space they share with Motel Beds and Goodbye/Crusher – for a run of ambitious local shows. On Jan. 26 the band performs at Blind Bob’s with The Jet Rodriguez (from Detroit) and Kyle Sowash (from Columbus). The band is also practicing for a special performance in Dayton on Feb. 24.
“We’ll be trying to recreate ‘The Last Waltz,’ the farewell concert appearance by The Band,” Pritchard beamed. The event, which took place at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day, 1976, was filmed by famed director Martin Scorsese and is hailed as one of the greatest concert films ever made.
Until then, Pritchard and The Boxcar Suite remain committed to continuing to write the best music possible. “Whatever I’m working on at that moment is always my favorite thing I’ve done,” Pritchard said. “I just keep trying to inch closer and closer to feeling like I’ve written my Pet Sounds.”
Tim Pritchard and the Boxcar Suite perform on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill are The Jet Rodriguez and Kyle Sowash. Admission is $5 for 21 & up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, visit timpritchard.org.
Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@daytoncitypaper.com