The Neo-Americana of Truth & Salvage: Interview with Tim Jones

The six guys, four singer-songwriters among them, who eventually formed Truth & Salvage Co. met at Hollywood’s Hotel Cafe, where Indianapolis native, guitarist and songwriter Tim Jones was talent booker.

Jones, ex-leader of Bloomington’s split-too-soon alt-country band Old Pike, which officially broke up in 2000, left for California around the turn of the century. His cohorts in the band hail from the Eastern half of the country: Atlanta, New Orleans, Tupelo, and smaller towns in Ohio.

Starting with impromptu jam sessions, they began to nail down a sound that eerily captures Old Pike’s anthemic Springsteen chord changes, not to mention the Bloomington band’s splash of church organ, rootsy guitars and rock and roll rhythm section.

Truth & Salvage Co.’s self-titled debut record, produced by Black Crowes leader Chris Robinson, releases on May 25. The band has already hit the road for an April tour with the red-hot Avett Brothers, and played at Birdy’s May 6.

Jones spoke to NUVO from Los Angeles a few days before heading on the road.

NUVO: Why’d you move to LA?

Tim Jones: Old Pike had all kind of split. The writing was on the wall and I really didn’t think that there was much more that I could do in Indianapolis. It wasn’t like there were A&R people in every corner. There was a producer in LA that I had worked with that said, “You know if things don’t work out with Old Pike, I’ve got a studio here. You can come out here and work with me for free.”

Three years ago or so, I started playing with all these other guys and music became fun again. It is what playing in a rock and roll band was like when I was in college, you know? When everybody got together just to play for fun. When Old Pike signed a major label record deal, a lot of the fun got sucked out of it. And it just became career-driven and success-driven, instead of music and soul-driven.

I always wanted to be in a rock and roll band and I loved that about Old Pike. After all these years, we finally get that back, where it’s more about, “Well, let’s make great music.” We have so many songs with four or five songwriters in the band that we just get to pick and choose from a wealth of material – it ends up making it easy.

NUVO: How did Truth & Salvage Co. hook up with Chris Robinson?

Jones: We were called the Denim Family Band for a while. We all took ourselves seriously as songwriters and musicians, but when we came together and play, it was like we just were having fun. Pete Angelus had been the Black Crowes manager since 1990. He found us through a mutual friend and was like, “I may know somebody who might like this, my good friend Chris Robinson.” And [Robinson] was like, “We’re starting our record label and were looking for artist”. So he came and checked us out two years ago this July and really dug it. And six months later, we’re signing our record deal and making a record.

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