After decades of performing music, a talented Tallahasseean has finally released his very first collection of recorded songs.
Gene Tipton is a singer, songwriter and a far better than average guitarist. It would seem musical creativity runs in his family.
“My father played (as well as) my older brother,” he recalled. “My older brother - you may have heard of him - Vaughn Tipton, he was a good fantasy artist, dragons and stuff like that. He could play like Chet Atkins. He was not as good as Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, but he could play like those guys.”
Following in those footsteps, Gene Tipton said he caught the music bug at an early age and was soon playing at various Tallahassee bars and clubs in between his other obligations as a teenager of modest means.
“I’d work at a grocery store, go to high school, go play at night in ‘The Keg’ or someplace on Raven Street. Come back the next morning and go to work for an hour or so at the grocery store, then go to school, come back in the afternoon to work the grocery store, then go play at night. I don’t know how I did that!” he laughed.
Tipton later became a musical nomad, gigging from town to town, and working the music circuits of various clubs and hotels. Occasionally, he’d encounter a legendary player.
“When I was in the Keys, I did ‘Black Magic Woman’ in a restaurant with a small dance floor in a hotel down there. The conga player from Santana was working there and he did congas for me. That was proud for me!”
But Tipton wasn’t only playing covers - his own renditions of other peoples’ songs - during all those years. He said he was also writing his own tunes. Eight of these compositions are now available on Tipton’s first formal album entitled “Garden of Earth.”
“There are parts of these songs that were written 30 years ago. Some of them are going to sound like standard classic rock, but some of them - you’d never know it - were performed on a stage 30 years ago,” he explained.
With so much music and so many years of life experience under his belt, Tipton admitted some of these songs are more than just a bit autobiographical.
“I haven’t always done the right thing by people and I wish so desperately I had. But you learn as you get older that you have to do everything the best you can by people. ‘The Garden of Earth,’ the song that has become the title song, it’s like I had to get it off my chest. I believe in a philosophy that is all-inclusive. I believe no one should be left out.”
But all these deep thoughts and self-reflection didn’t mean Tipton had forgotten the power of a heartfelt love song, like the one on the album dedicated to his life partner and soul mate.
“So she wanted me to write a song for her and I did: ‘The Shadow of the Swan, My Nataya,’ he said. “But that one starts with a guitar and a cello and vocal and builds up to orchestration; a screaming high lead note at the end, so it’s dramatic.”
Sometimes he says, you just have to cut loose and rock out. “’Road Rocker!’ he exclaimed as the first chords of the instrumental rang out.
“Now I love that song because that’s an energy song. If you’re driving and you’ve been driving for 10 or 12 hours and you’re trying to stay awake like I do very often, you can put that one in and ‘Whoa!’ It’ll wake you up. It’s like a march or something.”
Then there’s the indisputable fact that the very best rock music reconnects the listener to younger times when life was fresh and a bit unpolished. Tipton said that’s also the point of his album’s finale.
“It’s like, ‘Okay; let’s turn the heat back up!’ ‘Lost on Love’ is about being young and in a relationship where you don’t know what’s going on and you couldn’t count on anything and totally frustrating and you realize you have to get out of it. And ‘Lost on Love’ depicts that situation perfectly.”
There are four additional tracks in addition to the ones already mentioned. Tipton says the “Garden of Earth” collection is available through multiple sources.
“They are on: www.genetipton.com,” ou can hear full versions of the songs there. You can click on a link there for CD Baby. They’re also on I-Tunes, Spotify, the list goes on. They’re on every streaming platform."
Gene Tipton’s inaugural recorded outing is a good choice for those who like their rock seasoned with the pungent flavor of untold thousands of nights spent on countless barroom stages..