By Jason Evans
Omaha has become such a bustling city for musicians both young and old to produce their work or to find new fans. A musician can be found almost anywhere, from your favorite barista at Caffeine Dreams, to your local mom and pop pizza shop.
Tim Stuart is the owner of Villagio Pizzeria, a North Omaha restaurant located at 102nd and Ida Streets. His wife Debbie is the general manager and his son Quinn works in the kitchen. Stuart can often be found on the weekends, sitting at the bar and chatting up the local patrons. Although he is a pizza shop owner and Video King CEO by trade, Stuart is a musician at heart.
“I have always been a music freak, I have always wanted to play in bands. When I took off into the working world, I never lost that bug,” Stuart said.
Stuart has been playing music since his childhood and has always aspired to write songs. Stuart released an earlier full album “It’s Just Me” in 2011 with Matthew Tobias at Empty House Studio in Omaha.
However, Stuart’s newest full album “Gitano”, which was released in 2014 is his biggest project yet. Jason Burkum, who previously collaborated with Stuart on “It’s Just Me,” worked as the album’s producer. Other albums Burkum has produced include the Grammy Award winning rock gospel album “Worldwide” from the Christian group Audio Adrenaline. Stuart’s “Gitano,” recorded at The 402
Arts Collective, features over a dozen different musicians and was mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Focus Mastering. Yet Stuart explains that his album was created out of a total passion for music making.
“I’m too old to be a rock star. I did not put it online, and I did not sell it. It was a hobby of love,” Stuart said.
The album was recorded over three months, with Stuart squeezing just enough time into his week to work in the studio on Thursday nights.
“There were some low sleep hour nights, but I am a workaholic,” Stuart said.
The indie folk album is highlighted by Stuart’s lyrics which were all written by himself, except the tracks “Tumbleweed” and “Shine” which were co-written by him and Burkum. The name “Gitano” comes from the Spanish word for gypsies, which Stuart learned from his time in Spain during his early twenties.
The music covers a range of moods, from the boozy “Tumbleweed” to the somber final track “Where Is the Young Man.” “Tumbleweed’s” tipsiness was inspired by Lucky Bucket, an Omaha based brewing company of which Stuart is a fan of.
However, “Where Is the Young Man” is a song that was 40 years in the making. “Young Man” is a song that was originally recorded as a live studio performance by Stuart at Thunder Road in Toronto.
Stuart kept the recording, digitized it for “Gitano” and added a new vocal layer, which he sings along with his own 22-year-old self. Burkum also played the same Gibson J55 guitar that was used in the 1974 recording.
Stuart hopes to continue his songwriting and music career with another album in six to eight months