Florida’s son is coming home, and when he does, you must come and see the illustrated musician he has become. Tim Scott McConnell is solo, with a powerful 12-string acoustic guitar sound he has made his own, sliding, strumming and stomping. He is Ledfoot, at the culmination of the long journey he made to get back to where he started from.
This will be the first time he has toured the U.S. in twenty years, after building a successful career in Europe. He has lived in Norway since 1993, raising his four children in their country of birth. “Walking on stage to perform for an American audience is a dream come true for me,” said McConnell. “It's been way too long. Time to go home again!”
In Ray Bradbury’s classic book, The Illustrated Man (1951), there is a character covered with tattoos. The tattoos become animated and each tell a different story, the short stories of the book. The tattoos foretell the future. Like that book’s character, Tim Scott McConnell is fully inked with tattoos. Rather than seeing the individual story of each inscription, though, seeing the completed illustrated man is seeing Ledfoot.
There is no posing when this kind of commitment is made.
People get ink for all kinds of reasons, and commitment is one of them. Couples can wear jewelry to show commitment, but a more permanent mark of a love relationship can be a couples tattoo. Tattoo has become one of the most popular art forms today. Whether a heart tattoo, text, a wedding ring tattoo, matching designs, or designs that connect from one person to the other, choosing this strong visible statement shows a permanent commitment to love for the present and future. As well as the vision presented to the world, the experience of going through the painful process together is bonding for the couple.
Tim Scott McConnell started getting ink at a very young age, and for whatever personal reasons he felt, which he alone knows, it is no doubt part of his bonding with music. It may have been a nod to Rockabilly style in the beginning, playing with the Rockats in the early 1980’s. The marriage of this visual art medium with his music meant more, though. Becoming Ledfoot could never have been a part time job. It took committing McConnell’s whole life to become the illustrated and illustrius musician that he is.
The songs he writes are as emotionally arresting as the visual art of him playing live, with his heart wide open. No posing musically either, he commits everything to playing his guitar, blood coming from his fingers when he strung his 12-string with steel and literally beat and stomped the music out of it, singing his life's experiences.
There was never a question of giving up a day job, or trying to hold one. Still in his teens, the soft-spoken, personally shy artist had a soul full of courage, and knew he was never meant for a “normal” nine-to-five life. He had to give everything to his art, and his art was his life.
Born in a Florida trailer park in 1958, McConnell was the son of a boilermaker who moved around to different jobs. Attending an average of two schools a year while growing up didn’t make it easy for the quiet boy to fit in.
He was playing in Florida biker bars at age 15. After a gig with “Ritz” a band with friend and guitar player Richard Leverone, he drove home from St. Petersburg bar “Dr Feelgood’s” on his scooter, with his guitar case slung over his back. He carries the past and everything else with it in that guitar case.
Still in their teens, both guitarists moved to New York City and played in the underground clubs as “The Decks” for a while, in the burgeoning days of Punk and New Wave. In the wee hours of the morning at CBGB, David Bowie came into the club one night with the members of “Blondie” to watch the band perform. McConnell had a powerful stage presence, commanding the small space with physical prowess and performing the original songs the band wrote with intensity. Although influenced by many musicians, their style was still distinctly their own.
It was 1979 when, following his interest in a wide range of music, he joined the band The Rockats and toured around America for the next five years. Their first album, “Live at The Ritz”, was released in 1981 on Island Records.
His solo career began in1983, signing his first record deal with his rock/new wave song “Swear” on Sire Records. The song later became a huge hit for Sheena Easton.
He then signed to Geffen Records in 1987, and released the rock/blues rock, “ The High Lonesome Sound”.
In 1989, he started The Havalinas. McConnell became well known in Europe with the Havalinas, so he moved to Norway in 1993. He signed with Warner Music, and released his album Deceivers and Believers in 1994. McConnell recorded two more albums since then, one with an acoustic swing-jazz concept called "MoMacTrio" and a solo record, "13.songs".
He played live at the Trondheim Tattoo Convention in 2012. More details of his European success are published in this Nordic Tattoo Magazine feature on the convention.
In recent years, McConnell’s love of musical innovation led to the creation of and performance by his persona, Ledfoot. He writes and plays with the intensity required of this genre, soul blues in a modern context, called “Gothic Blues.”
Update: Show dates have been removed. Florida tour is canceled due to a pit bull dog attack to Tim's manager, sister Jeannie Louise McConnell Preston, which caused serious injuries to her hand, chest and a fracture to her back. Tim stated, "My manager is essential to the tour. We will be picking up Judy's tour later in the year. (Judy Collins) Unfortunately not in Florida, much to my regret, as I am an alligator." We wish Jeannie a speedy recovery and hope to see the brother and sister return to Florida ASAP!
Check out this live performance video collection.
Tim Scott McConnell site by Rainer Mueck. Photos in slide show by Rainer Mueck.