Local musician produces album and raises family
Margie's Java Joint is nearly empty at noon. The only action the place on 16th Street is getting is the dubstep music playing at a medium level.
Tim Coons, a local musician, is comfortably seated yet energetically gesturing as he tells his life story.
Munching on half a chocolate chip cookie, he discusses the bands that have influenced him.
"I've had folks that I've listened to and loved; Weezer and Pearl Jam were a couple huge bands for me in my life," Coons said. "Weezer, they call that 'nerd rock' now, and that makes sense when I think about myself. I would try to play the electric guitar and growl angrily like Eddie Vedder, and it just sounded stupid. I have an Irish-folk tenor voice."
Jeff Buckley is his main influence musically, specifically with his song "Hallelujah."
"And the reason is because it is this gorgeous simplicity," he said.
"You have these lyrics that speak to some universal truth, but you don't know what exactly is going on. Then, it breaks into this simple chorus of 'Hallelujah.' It's a blend of the real world with the spiritual world, and that's what I find in music I write."
Coons, being a Kansas-native, said he would describe the way he plays as Midwest-indie-folk-gospel.
"It's acoustic. It's stripped down. It's simple," he said. "That's a lot of what embodies the Midwest, in my mind, when I approach music. The word 'indie,' from independent, simply means that it has a college radio sound. It is a culture in and of itself. It really values creativity. It values strangeness and exploration. (My music is) folk because I use very natural instruments as well as other things, primarily acoustic guitar and piano. My stuff isn't electric guitar driven. It's gospel because my stuff is spiritual."
With growing up in Hutchinson, Kan., Coons said he had a great and constant childhood.
"I lived in one house till I was in fourth grade, moved once and grew up the rest of my years there and then came out to Colorado," he said. Coons graduated from UNC with a bachelor's in music. Because of his passion for music, Coons never played sports like his older brothers.
He said his family freaked out.
Currently, he is married to Betony Coons and they have two children, Lucy and Harriet. Coons met Betony in his hometown, but he did not fall in love until she transferred to the University of Northern
Colorado and was able to develop a relationship with her future husband.
When Betony became pregnant with their first daughter, Lucy, at first he was worried about not loving his child the way a father should. However, that unease all went away after his first daughter was born.
"What happened when Lucy was born was this switch that turned on inside of me; it was this strangest most miraculous thing," he said.
"It was like holding eternity. To love Lucy, to hold her and to have it be so easy; it was like, 'You could do so much damage to me as a human being, but I'll always love you.'"
When his second daughter was born, he said it was about adding to and completing his joy.
"The coolest thing about Harriet is that you have a completely different experience because you are interacting with a completely different person," he said. "The identity isn't that she is my child, it is that she is her."
He said one of the most important things he would like to impart to his children came from "The Simpsons" television show.
"Lisa has a huge crush on her teacher, played by Dustin Hoffman's voice," Coons said. "It's like in the first season, and he gives her a letter. I'm gonna tear up again. As he is leaving she opens it and it says 'Remember, you are Lisa Simpson.' I really hope to impart that to my girls. 'Remember, you are Lucy Coons. Remember, you are Harriet Orchard Coons.'"
With six CDs released so far, Coons said becoming a father highly influenced his art and the way he writes music.
"Frailty is about the personal struggle for me when Lucy was born," he said. "It occurred to me that I really don't want to die. I was faced with my mortality. I'm not always going to be there for her, and it became my deepest regret."
He said he balances his life as a father and a musician by realizing he has to keep a lot of different things going at once. He said his day job consists of helping out at the Atlas Theatre, a church on 16th
"I work for Atlas around 30 to 40 hours a week," he said. "I set up the framework for the worship service; I help out with everything. I love it. It's great. I get paid about a teacher's salary for that."
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he said, he is a stay-at-home dad. He finds time to practice and record in between his duties with the church and being a father.
He said he plans on having one or two more children and continuing to help out with Atlas.
"I'm also gonna keep recording albums and selling those," he said.
"I'm looking towards doing a band with Renee Swick called Giants and Pilgrims. It'll be non-worship music. I've got a couple projects lined up with that. I'm excited about that career path."
Swick, a senior English major, said she is excited for their new group.
"Tim and I work really well together," she said. "I think it'll be a really good experience. I'm really looking forward to it."
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