MANHATTAN, NY—Timothy B. Schmit showcased his eclectic talents at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in an hour and a half performance that took on his storied 40-year career with Poco, the Eagles and his solo albums. Standing centerstage he played the role of Laurel Canyon troubadour and alumnus looking and sounding a lot like a stoneyed version of Neil Young during his Tonight’s The Night era with a scruffy beard and a falsetto to match that’s aged like a fine wine and can still reach those high notes.
Eagle bandmate Glenn Frey nicknamed him “Woodstock” and used to introduce him at shows as the guy with the “high voice” and the “low rumbling bass”. At B.B.’s Schmit let his tunes, starry-eyed melodies and harmonies take us back to a time when CSN&Y, America and the Eagles ruled the FM dial. Switching back on forth on electric and acoustic guitars, but mostly staying faithful to a scratchy Martin, he fingerpicked in a style reminiscent of another famous bassman, Paul McCartney.
On a few numbers a harmonica got us folksy, the electric guitar morphed into a psychedelisized slugout and his trusty bass bought the bottom end on home. Lead guitarist Mark, who also doubles as the Eagles’ roadie and guitar tech, provided the lead guitar chops as the band balanced every musical tide up there like masters of ’70s Southern California rock.
Things got sentimental on the second one “My Hat” from his latest, Leap Of Faith, as well as acoustified gems like “The Shadow” and “Red Dirt Road” that gradually built up in intensity to the autobiographical “White Boy From Sacramento” from Expando that rocked out with some gospel-fused background vocals.
Things slowed down again as Schmit played some acoustic numbers including “You’re So Wild” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” that he dedicated to Glenn Frey. Poco’s “Keep On Tryin'” showcased the band’s gorgeous three-part harmonies. He introduced “I Can’t Tell You Why” from The Long Run as a song he bought to the band after his first audition and “bleary eyed meeting” with Eagles co-founders Frey and Don Henley.
Starting off with a minimalist backup band, then adding singers, horns and dismantling the unit for some solo numbers, Schmit played the arrangements of his tunes masterfully, coloring them into beautiful mosaics of sound. Ending the night with “I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore” and “Love Will Keep Alive” from Long Road To Eden with the full lineup in tow, he worked his setlist and the talents of his fellow musicians like a snake charmer, proving just how vital a link he was with the Eagles. Not only as a peacemaker and a harmonic bridge to some larger than life characters but a mighty talent in his own right as well.