Timothy B. Schmit

Tell Me the Truth

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The voice behind the Top Ten 1980 hit for the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why" should have been a big star after his third solo album. Everything that was wrong on Don Felder's Airborne effort goes right on Schmit's Tell Me the Truth album, his charming voice gliding over charming songs like "In Roxy's Eyes" and "Something Sad." Having Rita Coolidge and Siedah Garrett on backing vocals is part of the artistically successful formula here, but the other key is that six producers converge to manufacture a very smooth and very polished affair. Danny Kortchmar, John Boylan, Don Felder, and the singer all contribute to the album's sound, and all separately or in combinations on different tracks. It begins with "Tell Me the Truth," and that '80s ambience that permeated solo recordings by Glen Frey, Don Felder, and Don Henley is certainly present on the Henley/Kortchmar production. Side two gets a lot heavier, with a bent toward '90s techno, not only on "Let Me Go" but more so on "Perfect Strangers," both produced by David Cole and co-writer Bruce Gaitsch. Could the Eagles have been listening to Deep Purple? And borrowing Barry Manilow songwriter Will Jennings for three songs in the process? "All I Want to Do" has an immaculate production by Gaitsch and Timothy B. Schmit, an Everly Brothers-type folk number with flamenco-style leads that borrow heavily from a folky George Harrison. It's very pretty and very pleasant, and the kind of breakthrough that could appeal even to the detractors of the Eagles' homogenized sound. It's so innocent that another dimension is added to this unique music mix. "Tonight" is pure pop, somewhat removed from Poco, or maybe it's Poco meets the Raspberries. The jangling guitars and bouncy drums have keyboards slinking in and out while Timothy B. Schmit just knocks this one right on the head. Having landed in the Top 25 with 1987's "Boy's Night Out," this album should have had multiple hits. Schmit's sincerity comes through in a way that makes Henley's ten solo hits and Glen Frey's seven as overbearing as they were overplayed. "For the Children" is another revelation with a beautiful choir-type chorus closing out a superb effort which deserved so much more attention. Pretty amazing when one considers how big the Eagles are and how this one got away.

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