(Jackpine Social Club)
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2006, Volume 13, #2
Written by John Metzger
Over the course of his career, Tom Heyman has been a member of Map of Wyoming, Go to Blazes, and The Court and Spark, and he has performed as a sideman with the likes of Alejandro Escovedo and John Vanderslice. So, if itís taken five years for him to record Deliver Me, the follow-up to his solo debut Boarding House Rules, he is to be forgiven. His latest endeavor significantly refines his talent as a songwriter, and he calls in favors from a slew of friends and associates ó including Chuck Prophet, American Music Clubís Mark Eitzel, and Wilcoís John Stirratt ó for help in sculpting the outing. Nevertheless, their contributions are minimal, and itís Heyman himself who deserves all of the credit for concocting the heady brew of soul-infused, roots-oriented rock that surrounds his gritty tales. Scattered throughout the album are hints of hope, most notably on the tracks that bookend the set ó the sunny-day shuffle Alright and the gentle contentment of Listen to the Rain. For the most part, however, Heyman is most satisfied when he is exploring the darker corners of his world of lost souls. On Monkey Out of Me, he embeds the punch-drunk heartache of his lyrics within a foreboding atmosphere of í60s-tinged, barroom blues that is reminiscent of Tom Waits, and on Bottles he somberly paints a reflective portrait of an alcohol-soaked afternoon. Elsewhere, he adds purpose to his otherwise perfunctory cover of Milk Cow Blues by prominently featuring its title in the chorus of Crazy Rayís Tom Petty-derived folk. Granted, Deliver Me isnít likely to cause anyone to reexamine the history of rock, folk, or blues, but it is an affecting ode to loveís power to destroy as well as to save.
Deliver Me is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box