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Transom stories: TC musician Jonathan Timm channels loss into songs

Traverse City musician Jonathan Timm moved back to the area from Nashville recently. The 34-year-old northern Michigan native says he was missing out on too much at home. 

Timm mostly plays the guitar, some piano and violin. He performs with a full band. He says he always loved classic country music - the rawness of the songwriting.

"There’s just a vulnerability in classic country that has always inspired me," he says.


Timm says his music often reflects what's going on in his life, including losing people he loves.

"I’ve been through a lot of loss and grief in my adult years," says Timm, "and I don’t think there’s any way I could have escaped that as a major theme in my music."

Timm's last album "Fever Dream" dealt with the death of his good friend, musician Pat Carroll. Carroll battled cystic fibrosis for his entire life and died at 26.

“When he passed away, I was living in Nashville," Timm says. "So, it felt like the last year and a half of his life I kind of missed out on."

So, Jonathan moved back to Traverse City in 2017. The move back has meant being closer to Jonathan’s family, closer to the beauty of Northern Michigan and closer to old friends.

"I wanted to spend some time with my dad while we could still go bike riding and hiking and all the things that we like to do," Timm says.  

With the change in scenery has also come some new songs.

“'Grayman,' the record I’m putting out this summer is kind of a post-loss record," says Timm. "It’s dealing with the overarching influence of the people I’ve lost but also going into new territory. I mean it’s primarily about my move back from Nashville last year.” 

Though he misses Nashville, Timm says music helps him find community wherever he is.

Jonathan Timm’s record "Grayman" comes out this August. He’ll be playing live in cities throughout Michigan this summer. 

John Williamson came to Interlochen in June for the Transom Traveling Workshop taught by Rob Rosenthal.