The acoustic duo of Easy Tiger


Many acoustic-based duos can be easy to write off. Complaints of overused musical elements and generic melodies are some mainstream staples that acoustic artists usually have to deal with, unless you’re in the elite ranks of Simon & Garfunkel. Unlike many acoustic legends of the past, “acoustic” is modernly written to classify the acoustic guitar as the main ingredient, not the only one. Of course, flour isn’t the only ingredient we use when we bake a cake. Easy Tiger is the latest duo with relevance, traditionally consisting of two friends from the musically active city of Chicago, Illinois. Russell Baylin plays the part of lead vocals and lyrics, providing the rhythm guitar. Dan Wean plays the vital role of lead guitarist, lending his unique musical songwriting talents to complement Baylin’s engaging lyrics and lively melodies. Prior to the formation of Easy Tiger, the duo had participated in bands together for about seven continuous years, with the majority being more electric and alternative than their Easy Tiger project. After a numerous amount of band attempts, they decided to move into a different direction that they felt was more in-depth and emotional, eventually deciding on their acoustically charged duo. Baylin has a range that is both impressive and risky, reaching some notes that perhaps would sound better suited for a track with more layers. Risks aside, The fact remains though that his snarling and aggressive vocals add the signature tone to Easy Tiger that separates them from most generic acoustic bands of the Midwest.


‘The Best and the Worst Compliment You Could Ever Make’ is a fantastic opener to their second album, Papa Had Some Fury. Baylin tells the tale of an insecure husband in the middle of a marriage where he loses his feelings of love for his wife, but still respects her too much to leave. “I don’t mind, she gently said, I don’t mind if you look bad,” Baylin drags out, “open up a window and open up your mind and come to bed”. Baylin’s depiction of this husband in pain is shown through lyrical and vocal compassion, as he recognizes happiness only in the form of “sleeping late”, even while his wife “stays up for me, she waits”. The song is complex enough to hold its own for the four minutes of duration, with a jumpy chorus that is untypical of the preceding verse, though it still fits effectively in key due to to Wean’s songwriting. ‘Sylvia’ and ‘For How Long’ are both typical love songs, with a few Western-esque one liners that are worth repeating twice, from ‘Sylvia”s “I don’t know, but does gin and tonic count as emotion?” to ‘For How Long’s desperate plee of redemption. ‘Sylvia’ boasts a nice guitar solo, defying all assumptions that Easy Tiger are strictly and simply acoustic. Papa Had Some Fury was a very pleasant surprise for me, and while Baylin’s vocals may initially turn off some listeners, many will begin to appreciate the diversity, causing the end result to be quite a success. The album actually released in 2004 and the band was on hiatus for much of 2005 due to some back issues with Wean. After Wean’s full recovery, the duo signed with Paperwork and are currently recording their third album, which is set to be released in 2007.


Easy Tiger – The Best and the Worst Compliment You Could Ever Make



Easy Tiger – Sylvia



Easy Tiger – For How Long





Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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  1. Wow – it’s nice to see these guys getting some recognition. When I worked at Starbucks I served Russell coffee every day for a few years. Nicest guy ever. I had a huge crush on him. His band is great too!

  2. No offence, but these songs do very little for me. I can’t stand this kind of amateur, sloppy songwriting with silly lyrics. There is nothing catchy or original or interesting about these three songs. You can listen to them for 10 seconds and know that this is not going to make anything happen for Easy Tiger. Keep at it is my advice.

  3. That last guy is just a grump. These guys got real songwriting talent. I admire their lines, and I am a man who knows poetry in motion when I come across its bad self. Stream on I say, stream on —KFED

  4. Are you the real KFED? Hey, just cause you never been shot at, corholed or birddogged, and just cause you be white and from Lake Oswego don’t mean your beats ain’t fresh. I listened to your shit KFED, and it moved me deeply, specially those lines about yer earrings being worth more than I have made in my life time. Da truth hurts dog and I feel your pain a mile wide.

    Oh yeah, I agree with the grumpy dude, this Cheesy Tiger muzak just don’t have no SNAP, but props for trying anyways, and especially putting out music eventhough you got major back pain. I once played a whole show with a hurt thumb, and that shit was ROUGH. peace

  5. I once hurt my thumb once Mad Dog. It made me appreciate my thumb so much, because before I hurt my thumb, I hardly ever knew how great my thumb was and how much it did for me. I bet Mr. Baylin feels the same way about his back. I can feel the pain in his music and that make it all so much more real for me.

  6. This band has been one of my favorites for years. In this age of cheesy bublegum acoustic artists that call themselves singer/songwriters, it’s refreshing that there are actually MUSICIANS playing and writing with substance. There are actual emotions in these songs. Rock on Easy Tiger!

  7. There are too many haters out there! Just bought this album a few years too late, but I can’t stop listening to it! Classic songwriting and musicianship is what this is about! As far as I know, this is just 2 dudes, a singer and a guitar player/multi instrumentalist that is amazing with some studio cats here and there.This is a classic rock album on par with Neil Young’s Harvest… It took a few listens, and I was ready to be harsh and hate it, but PLEASE give it a chance!

    BTW, they have another album called “Lonely in my Members Only” whick is more band orientated and rock based…

    P.S. as far as I know, they are broken up and don’t play anymore… it’s a shame…


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