Originally Performed ByPhish
Lyrics ByJimmy Johnson
VocalsLaura Olsher (Narration Samples)
Phish Debut2014-10-31
Last Played2016-07-10
Current Gap266
HistorianTim Wade (TheEmu)
Last Update2015-10-02


The fourth track on Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House, “Timber,” plays on the fear of heights. Laura Olsher, narrator of the LP’s first side, sets the scene in sinister fashion:

You are an expert woodsman
You have a very long and very sharp saw under your arm
As you go out into the woods to ply your trade
Noting a handsome, tall tree
You climb up into its branches and
Seating yourself comfortably on a limb
You begin to work

The woodsman then saws away, whistling happily, until the branch is suddenly heard cracking, each segment ending in horrifying screams that mark the victim’s demise.

10/31/14 – MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish

Phish’s interpretation of “Timber” for their 2014 Halloween costume uses the back-and-forth of the saw to set the beat before stating a jagged musical theme, which puts the listener on edge. The danger of being out on a limb is palpable, and the shriek of the plummeting woodsman is heard in short order. The song, however, is just getting started. What follows could be thought of as the panic of falling from a great height, but slowed down and drawn out for our listening horror. Over the next few minutes, “Timber” evokes images of branches whipping past, while doomed fingers clutch at air in a vain attempt to arrest the descent. The culmination of the nightmare is repeated in terrifying fashion. Each time, just before reaching the end of this ordeal, the woodsman is snatched back so that he may experience the fear of his last moment again, and again, and again. Mercifully, with one final scream, the ground rushes forth and brings the vignette to a close.

10/31/14 – MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Dave Vann © Phish

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