Artist to Watch: Timothy Edward Carpenter’s Debut EP ‘the boy from ohio’ Is an Intimate & Beautifully Raw Upheaval

Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill
Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill
An intimate indie folk upheaval, Timothy Edward Carpenter’s debut EP ‘the boy from ohio’ is a beautifully raw and breathtaking introduction.
for fans of Phoebe Bridgers, Corey Kilgannon, Brian Dunne, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver
Stream: ‘the boy from ohio’ – Timothy Carpenter




As I write this now, I find myself more aligned with the beat of my heart than ever before and bewildered at what might happen if you are only willing to take a chance on yourself.

An intimate indie folk upheaval, Timothy Edward Carpenter’s debut EP is a beautifully raw and breathtaking introduction.

A stripped-down reckoning of and with the self, the boy from ohio is a vulnerable record balancing turbulence and tranquility, reflection and observation as the artist searches for meaning, purpose, and understanding – both within himself, and throughout a lifetime’s worth of surroundings. His is the kind of honest songwriting that leaves us breathless, bewildered, and stirred inside.

the boy from ohio - Timothy Carpenter
the boy from ohio – Timothy Edward Carpenter
Kerina
Playing through the stereo
Should have seen her
Carry me on down the road
Took a detour
Bridge was out, who knows what for
Met my mother
At the old convenient store
I left to try and find me
However I define me
I’m still the boy from Ohio
– “the boy from ohio,” Timothy Carpenter

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the boy from ohio, Timothy Edward Carpenter’s debut solo EP (out September 17, 2021). Formerly a leading member of Nashville-based, Atwood-acclaimed “folkicana” six-piece Edward and Jane – which he co-fronted with his wife, Emilie Jane – Carpenter has, for the past five years, been serenading audiences with inspiring songs of love and connection, pain and sorrow, introspection, healing, and so much more. The band – at one time one of the country’s foremost up-and-comers on the folk rock scene – announced their early retirement in mid-2020 alongside their aptly-titled third and final EP With You, Always, which was praised as a “haunting twenty-minute masterpiece of sound and color.”

Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill
Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill

Carpenter’s first solo effort arrives a full sixteen months later, and with lots of life changes (big and small) in-between. While “the boy from ohio,” “stories from outer space,” and “TV” are certainly set in the present, they also feel like they’re lost in some ever-present past. Produced by longtime friend and producer Jonathan Class, the undeniably introspective and raw three-track set reintroduces Carpenter as a storyteller akin to such familiar faces as Corey Kilgannon, Adam Melchor, and Brian Dunne – and just like these three singer/songwriters before him, he has with this EP swiftly earned the title of “artist to watch.”

“The record was recorded in about 10 studio hours,” Carpenter tells Atwood Magazine. “The intention was to capture each track in only one or two takes leaving space for the listener to focus on the lyrics by way of vocals and acoustics.”

All three of Carpenter’s songs manage to tell immersive, wistful and moving stories of personal growth and emotional transformation, starting with the autobiographical title track “the boy from ohio“: “I left to try and find me, however I define me, I’m still the boy from Ohio,” he sings in a somber chorus. Acceptance sinks in as it slips off his tongue; there’s the sense that whatever it is that he’s been looking for – perhaps his “identity”; perhaps something more? – has been here the whole time.

Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill
Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill

Carpenter’s clever wordplay, vivid imagery, and multifaceted storytelling is very similar to Phoebe Bridgers’ famously captivating songwriting style; in the ethereal “stories from outer space,” he revels in an intense period of what feels like an existential crisis, building off a series of compelling moments and memories:

Tell me a story from outer space
To keep my mind off of her face
There’s a cross on the dash that she might replace
We’re asking ourselves
“Do you still have faith?”
Saw a place called Gambler’s Paradise
We passed it once, we passed it twice
There’s something about that neon light
It got me to think about my life
How did I get here?
How did I get here anyway?
On the side of the road, on the front of a sign
It’s a letter to me painted black and white
Says “I’m headin’ for hell if I cross that line”
Should I give them a call just in case they’re right?
“Can you tell me the truth is this the end?”
He’s a broken voice, I’m a worn out friend
This seems like a tear you cannot mend
Time is your healer once again




Carpenter closes with the visceral and warm “TV,” featuring Atwood artist to watch Abby Holliday (who released her very own stunning debut EP, WHEN WE’RE FAR APART I FALL APART, this past July). A (bitter)sweet song full of rich vocal harmonies and soft, slow guitar strumming, “TV” is utterly immersive and irresistibly compelling. Its gentle instrumentation gives plenty of room for listeners to soak up a stirring story of heartfelt intimacy, honest yearning, and self-discovery; of deeply philosophical questions asked, for which there are no definitive answers. “Remember the night when the TV fell on me?” Carpenter sings at the top. “Scared me to death as I lied under the screen. Barely a week later, you read it in the paper Someone died from the same thing. What do you think that means?” The ensuing three and a half minutes make for an enchanting, cathartic experience:

If you asked me, “Why am I here?” Couldn’t tell you, it’s never been clear
What do you think that means? What do you think that means?
I’m hanging on by a thread, keeping up with appearances
“A futile game in your head” I was told by my therapist
I wear my heart on my sleeve lately, not convinced it’s good for me
Cause there’s a hole in my chest now, what do you think that means?
If I asked you, “Why am I here?” Couldn’t tell me, it’s conditional fear
What do you think that means? What do you think that means?
It was 2003 when the TV fell on me
I’m still scared to death, what do you think that means?
What do you think that means? There’s a hole in my chest
What do you think that means? A futile game in my head
What do you think that means? Still scared to death
What do you think that means?




Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill
Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill

For Carpenter, this EP is a long time coming – but not necessarily a long time in the making. It represents a fresh start following Edward + Jane, and offers the hope of moving on meaningfully, and making a new beginning full of possibility.

“Songwriting took somewhat of a backseat for me last year after the closing chapter of my previous band and amidst the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Carpenter shares. “I started working a steady job which provided a much needed rest from the grind that became chasing a career in the music industry. The consistency in my daily routine coupled with separation of career and craft afforded me a chance to reassess my motivators for making songs and to rediscover the creative process entirely. For me, what had previously all too quickly become work, was transforming into play again.”

“With the much needed encouragement of a few close friends, I recently quit my day job to work on a seven week tour with one of the greatest songwriters I have met to date. As a man of faith, the timing of such an opportunity felt in no way accidental. My incredible wife, Emilie Jane, alongside one of my best friends and longtime producer, Jon Class, convinced me that if I take the leap, I ought to go all in, and that ‘it may just be time for a Timothy Edward Carpenter record.’ As I write this now, I find myself more aligned with the beat of my heart than ever before and bewildered at what might happen if you are only willing to take a chance on yourself. I’ve always felt that I try my hardest to fit a full-length record worth of ideas into whatever size record I’m writing. These three songs to me are the most honest songs I’ve written up to now, and as someone who has a longstanding struggle with identity, writing these songs has allowed me to begin unpacking who I believe I am at my core and tear away at the layers of who I’ve believed others want me to be.”

Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill
Timothy Edward Carpenter © Samuel Greenhill

These three songs to me are the most honest songs I’ve written up to now, and as someone who has a longstanding struggle with identity, writing these songs has allowed me to begin unpacking who I believe I am at my core and tear away at the layers of who I’ve believed others want me to be.

Timothy Edward Carpenter stole our hearts once before, and he’s done it all over again. the boy from ohio is an exceptional record of storytelling and vulnerability, reintroducing us to one of our era’s finest folk-adjacent storytellers – and he’s only just getting started.

Stream the boy from ohio exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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Stream: ‘the boy from ohio’ – Timothy Carpenter



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the boy from ohio - Timothy Carpenter

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📸 © Samuel Greenhill


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