Artist: TIM DISMANG

Title: HOLY ROADS

Label: SELF RELEASED

Release Date: MARCH 2008

BY DENNIS ROGER REED

timdismang small.jpg The intent of a recording project is usually established well before the first note is recorded. Even if all the songs haven't been composed or all arrangements finalized, there is a reason for the artist to begin. But sometimes that intent, or the result, can be changed by activities well beyond the artist's control. Thus begins Holy Roads.

Tim Dismang is a San Juan Capistrano, California based singer songwriter. Tim's work has been very influenced by one of his idols, John Stewart. So much so that Dismang includes four of Stewart's songs on Holy Roads. So much so that Dismang uses Bob Hoke on drums and Dave Batti on bass. Both worked as Stewart's rhythm section. And Bob Hawkins, the gentleman who plays remarkable guitar on Holy Roads, ended up connecting with Stewart through Hoke and Batti due to his work with Dismang and was recording and gigging with Stewart prior to John's untimely death in January of this year.

  So by intention, Holy Roads is not a John Stewart tribute album. But my nature, in many ways it is exactly that. Dismang has a warm baritone somewhat reminiscent of Stewart's, but has his own style of delivery. Dismang is a "feelings" songwriter, so there are no long story songs. Subject matter relates more to love, the need for world peace and a plea for understanding.  Stewart passed just as Dismang was completing the project, so that the artwork was adapted to include a dedication to Stewart.

Production shimmers. Hawkins' guitar work supports the songs yet shines and emphasizes Dismang's strong melodic work. Hawkins is a phenomenal talent, seemingly capable of ascertaining the least amount of music required to support the song, but in that economy he always chooses just the right feel, just the perfect touch. The rhythm section anchors and regulates as a good section should. Batti not only plays bass, but also accordion and trumpet. Hoke plays the drums, and also piano and percussion and arranged the keyboards on Everything, Dismang's strongest melodic piece. Two versions of Everything are included, one with a more acoustic feel. Dismang shares production credit with Joshua McKendry, who also engineered and mixed the project. The highest praise for Dismang's songwriting is that he usually holds his own compared to the Stewart penned selections. There are a couple of mis-steps, such as the cloying Terrorist Inside, but these are overshadowed by the remainder of the project.

It's always sad when a folk icon leaves us. But with Holy Roads, Tim Dismang shows that Stewart's legacy is in good hands.


Dennis Roger Reed is a singer-songwriter, musician, and writer based in San Clemente, CA. He is apparently somewhat of an expert on Gram Parsons, with his writings on the subject having been featured in Mojo and in God's Own Singer: A Life of Gram Parsons by Jason Walker. Writing about his music has appeared in Acoustic Musician, Bass Player, Bluegrass Now, Bluegrass Unlimited, Blues Access, Blues Revue, Blue Suede News, Dirty Linen, the LA Times, Living Blues, and Sing Out! He is still decidedly not famous.