For about 50 years, Toledo native Tim Oehlers has been a guitarist and original composer focusing on emotional expression. Showcasing his talents on guitar, harmonica and vocals. Oehlers, a kind soul, is a talented musician in the local music scene. A beacon of positivity and advocacy for Toledo music, Oehlers isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Toledo City Paper sat down with Oehlers to catch up.
It’s been just over 5 years since your last interview with Toledo City Paper. What have you been up to?
I’ve been busy performing and creating new music. The pandemic gave me, and other musicians, the opportunity to spend time with our ideas, to flush them out.
You’re in the process of getting your albums (dating back to 1997) onto streaming platforms. Why is now the right time for that?
I wanted to wait (for financial reasons) to make sure I regenerated the funds I invested into past projects. The cycle includes recording an album, pressing CDs, selling those CDs and then using those funds for the next album.
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When streaming first came out, I didn’t hop on it right away. As a business decision, I didn’t initially want to give “freeloads” away. I also kept my eyes on other artists (big and small) and how they navigated streaming and the issues they’ve had with it.
When going through each album, to get it online, makes me think about every person involved on each recording. The process brings up great memories and makes me wonder how everyone is doing with their lives now. When I perform, I pull from different eras of my catalog.
Can you tell us about your latest album?
It’s called Necktivity; play-on words because of the neck on the guitar, but also it’s an instrumental electric guitar album. What I did artistically different with this album was to use the same guitar and album for the whole thing. I used a Slingshot (made by Reverend Guitars) and a Loudbox Mini amp (made by Fishman) on every song. I recorded it at Joe’s Track Shack, in Toledo, with Joe Koziarski, who also did the mixing and mastering. We spent about a year recording this album because we really wanted to take our time with it.
I purposely recorded this album a love letter to my Reverend Slingshot guitar. There’s no other guitar quite like it; the way it feels, sounds and the journey I’ve been on with it, along with the people connected to it.
Talk about Toledo’s music scene in 2023?
There are a lot of opportunities for working musicians, more than ever. In my 50 years of doing this, I’ve watched the number of venues continue to grow.
What are your plans for 2024?
A goal I have is to make vinyl copies of my new album. It would be nice to have at least one album of mine on vinyl. I still have a catalog of unrecorded songs to work through, so I’d love to get back into the studio.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
Tim Oehlers plays at locations like Te’kela, The Casual Pint, Benfield Wines and more. Check out Time Oehlers on Facebook to see his upcoming performances each week. linktr.ee/timoehlersguitar