We’re out to improve your day with a recent chat we had with Town Meeting. The Boston-based act returned with the release of their third studio album, Make Things Better, in June, a melodic, roots rock affair equipped with lots of catchy harmonies and insightful lyrics in the mould of The Band, Wilco, and Drive-By Truckers. Led by the brotherly trio of singer and guitarist Luke Condon, drummer Russ Condon, and singer, percussionist, and harmonica player Brendan “Babe” Condon, the five-man band have been slowly rising up within the ranks of the indie-folk scene over the last few years. Formed in 2013 in Ayer, Massachusetts, Town Meeting set out to combine their love of 1960s folk with the energy, and honesty of punk rock.
Make Things Better is the group’s most accomplished release to date, highlighted by its honest and passionate approach. All ten songs possess infectious energy precipitated by the camaraderie within the band. There are moments of sheer joy such as with the Avett Brothers-influenced “Bleeding Hearts,” the hopefulness of “Answers,” and the Counting Crows-like “The Fourth Verse.” The band members really came together in a new way for this release, crafting a record that is easy to listen to and even easier to enjoy.
We recently caught up with lead guitarist and mandolin player Tim Cackett and took a little break from any music-related conversation to discuss everyone’s second favourite thing, food. In our latest edition of Art of The Meal, we spoke to Cackett about how he arranges his diet as an individual with celiac disease, some of his favourite hometown restaurants, and his go-to fast food places.
Do you follow a particular diet?
Tim Cackett: “I do. I have celiac disease and, unfortunately, am also very sensitive to cross-contamination. So I eat 100 percent gluten-free.”
How does the food you eat on the road compare to what you eat when in the studio or not working?
“Honestly, eating on the road is hard. Especially if we have no money or need to eat quickly. I use an app Find Me Gluten Free and that’s been a lifesaver. It gives you reviews from other users on which local spots are safe or not.”
Do you prepare a lot of your own food?
“I would say 80 percent of what I eat I make, it’s much safer for me that way.”
Are any of your bandmates cooks? Or foodies?
“Nah. They can use a grill but outside of that, there’s no chef in the group. (Bassist) Derek (Fimbel) is way into coffee, he’s about as close to a foodie as we have in the band.”
What are some of your favourite restaurants in your hometown?
“I live in southern New Hampshire so food options can be a little sparse for me, but there’s a great pad Thai place called Sweet Ginger. Everything they do is good. Also Mi Jalisco. Incredible corn tortillas.”
Do you have a favourite “food city” when on tour?
“Portland Maine. So many great accommodating spots, including Boda, Holy Donut, Barista’s and Bites, and can’t forget Taco Cat in Kittery, Maine, and we all loved The Revolver Taco Lounge last time we were in Deep Ellum (neighbourhood) in Dallas.”
What are some of the food items on your rider?
“We usually aren’t that demanding, but hard ciders usually for the other guys. For me, it just says please provide a gluten-free meal and then I’ll eat whatever they provide.”
If a fan were generous and to give you a food or drink-related gift, what should they get you?
“None. I’d be too worried about cross-contamination from their kitchens (laughs).”
Were any of your songs ever conceived at a bar or restaurant?
“We have a song called ‘All the Bars’ off our previous album, that was conceived after a night out in Bangor, Maine.”
When was the last time you barbecued?
“Fourth of July, I think.”
What is your go-to meal when headed to a barbecue?
“One burger and one dog. Just hold the bun.”
Which toppings go on your ideal pizza?
“All of the meats, mushrooms, peppers, onions. Never pineapple.”
Do you have a favourite chef?
“Does Bender from Futurama count?”
Have you ever owned a George Foreman Grill?
“I do have a Foreman and use it all the time!”
What is your favourite fast-food chain restaurant?
“Pre celiac it was Wendy’s. Now either Chipotle or Five Guys.”
How do you usually get your groceries? In-store? Online delivery?
“Always in person so I can make sure I’m getting something that won’t hurt my stomach.”