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Tim Lill’Scallywag Fretwell Is Cautiously, “Dealing With Old Scratch”

Ontario-based blues recording artist, musician, and singer-songwriter Tim Lill’Scallywag Fretwell has seen his fair share of trials and tribulations, reflecting them in his music like the recent single, "Dealing With Old Scratch."

Diagnosed with diabetes at 16 months old, Tim Lill’Scallywag Fretwell first felt inspired to create music after his father passed away due to the same disorder. After losing his vision and getting placed on dialysis, he found himself working in a slaughterhouse, getting stabbed and crushed by a forklift. These themes are the foundation of Fretwell's soulful and meaningful tunes.

Now releasing his recent single, "Dealing With Old Scratch," the song is the first track on Tim Lill’Scallywag Fretwell's latest EP 'Isolation Sickness.' The single itself of reminiscent of Fretwell's inspirations like The Tragically Hip, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, Hank Williams, and Robert Johnson, but with a unique flair that screams grit, inclusivity, individuality.

Taking a listen to the new track, "Dealing With Old Scratch," we're met with a stunning, soulful, and twangy guitar introduction where various acoustic and electric guitars set the song's introspective tone. Listening to Fretwell's vocal appearance, he starts shouting out individuals who like pills, can't pay bills, and reach for the bottle, all experiences that he's lived first-hand.

This song is a heavy hitter, from Fretwell's groans and aches to his toe-tapping acoustic guitar melodies that ooze in western nostalgia. We sincerely appreciate this deep and conceptual foot-stomper; it's equally as gripping as it is emotional. Tim Lill’Scallywag Fretwell does an incredible job of placing the listener in such troubling and grueling moments.

Feel seen, heard, and acknowledged in Tim Lill’Scallywag Fretwell's new single, "Dealing With Old Scratch," off his recent 6-track EP 'Isolation Sickness,' now available on all streaming platforms.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Tim Lill'Scallywag Fretwell. We're wildly impressed with the inclusive yet emotional concept of your recent single, "Dealing With Old Scratch." What inspired this cathartic and soulful track?

I was having dinner with someone close to me, and they asked me who I was. I had just left a toxic relationship and moved out of Toronto and back to Waterloo. And I was listing to a lot of The Devil Makes Three, and I wanted to sum up the real world through my eyes by writing a song that had a catchy chorus and could be used as a sort of drinking anthem. The DMT is just that, and I sat down with the guitar, and here we are. I set out to define myself in a song, and I feel I accomplished that.

Was it challenging to write such personal lyrics for "Dealing With Old Scratch?" What was that process like?

Not at all. I thought about the concept for about a week, and then when I put pen to paper, It just came right off the top of my head; it took me 10 minutes to put the guitar to it, and ya, it was done. But what was tricky was recording my upright bass without a professional sound guy and top-end mics. I ended up using a combination of a Piezo pickup and a sure 58, and I got the job done.

What sort of listening experience did you aim to provide listeners with when experiencing the heavy-hitting single "Dealing With Old Scratch?"

Like I said above, I wanted a song that makes people wanna get up and hoist a glass and sing along, meanwhile making the old barflies say, "F*ck, I hear ya, buddy."

How does "Dealing With Old Scratch" represent the core theme within your recent EP 'Isolation Sickness?'

It has elements of all the other songs within it. It encapsulates the idea that I do things my way and don't care what people like fucking Simon Cowel say. When you listen to DWOS, you know by the second verse what to expect from the rest of my album. It also allows the listener to make a choice; when their end comes, you can choose the light, or you are dealing with the devil.

What's next for you?

Well, I have 4 or 5 more tracks that I am in the process of finishing that didn't make the cut the first time around, so I have that in the works also. I really want to get out there and play shows, and I'd love to go on tour one day.

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