|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1.5 cm|
Tom Bolton’s journey into music covers thirty years of songwriting, three albums of original folk-acoustic songs, a decade of gigs and festivals, and airplay on independent radio in Australia, Europe, USA and Canada.
Dreaming and Dancing, the third album from Melbourne-based Tom Bolton was produced by renowned acoustic roots musician, Nick Charles.
There are two covers, Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren” and Neil Young’s “Wrecking Ball”, otherwise the album distills the latest musical and lyrical observations from Tom’s 30-plus years of songwriting craft. With eight original songs and a solo acoustic guitar instrumental, the themes range wide through journeys, border crossings, reconciliation, hope, celebration, romance, dreaming and dancing.
Contributions from a diverse array of Antipodean talent support Tom’s vocals and acoustic guitar. The players bring fresh and unexpected influences from their backgrounds in folk, classical, rock, bluegrass, klezmer, pop, blues and jazz, while Nick weaves his own broadly-informed acoustic and resonator guitar sounds throughout, binding the elements into a distinctive and coherent whole.
Tom Bolton: acoustic guitar and vocals
Nick Charles: acoustic and electric guitars, resonator guitar, mandolin, percussion
Les Oldman: drums and percussion
Andrew O’Grady: electric bass and double bass
Richard Grace: double bass
Bruce Haymes: piano
Sarah Curro: violin
Phil Carroll: piano accordion
Pete Fidler: lap-slide guitar
Liz Frencham: backing vocals
Katherine Simpson: backing vocals
Michael Allen: backing vocals
The last album by Tom Bolton was a treat, and his new one is an equally deft songwriting exercise… another fine album” Anna Maria Stjärnell – Luna Kafe – Sweden
“Bolton’s knack for winsome-pretty, winning melodies is a cut above 1000 other guys and gals with an acoustic guitar that want to sing to us about love and its discontents. Instead of wasting our time, he fills it with small, steady wonders” Jack Rabid – The Big Takeover – New York
“From the first track to the last… excellence” Anne Infante – Folk Rag – Brisbane.
CD review by Chris Spencer
This is Melbourne singersongwriter Tom Bolton’s third album. His first, Acoustic Caravan, was released in 2003, under the recording name Sensible Tom. The second, When I Cross the River, was released in 2007.
This CD was released in 2010, but deserves bringing to your attention. After listening to this album, I will be seeking out his two earlier albums.
Bolton has an engaging voice, one that I am unable to find a suitable comparison. The songs are probably more pop orientated than folk, but there are elements of folk in his song writing and arrangements.
Tom has recorded two covers which might give you some notion of his influences, but they are not a reference point for comparison of his song writing nor singing. The first, “Song to the Siren”, appears early in the track listing at No. 2. This is a Tim Buckley song; I am not familiar with the original. Bolton has chosen an acoustic guitar backing with double bass and violin weaving in and out.
The 2nd cover is that of Neil Young’s “Wrecking Ball”. Bolton slows the Young composition right down, changing the spirit of the song from a guitar blitz to a countrified pop song. To me, this highlights the strength of Young’s songwriting abilities in that a good song that can be just as strong in whatever guise it is presented and also the cleverness of Bolton to consider changing the attitude of the song.
However the best song on this album, is one of Bolton’s own compositions: “Only the Shining World”. It has a wonderful melody, dedicated singing and a sympathetic arrangement.
Nick Charles who plays a variety of instruments on the album, should be congratulated for the production of the album, and in particular this track.
Other guest musicians include Andrew O’Grady on bass, Bruce Haymes (piano), Sarah Curro (violin), and Liz Frencham on backing vocals.
Other tracks of significance include “A Place to Call Our Home” which on first listening was about the displacement of aborigines but could equally be about migrants or refugees trying to assimilate in a strange country. Similarly “Crying Day” could be describing the anxiousness of refugees as they wait to know their fate. “New Dream” touches on impending environmental disasters, the poppy “Watch the World Roll On” is a kind of love song, “Road to Knowing” has an exquisite guitar solo by Charles. The title track works up to a crescendo of various instruments, including Nick Charles’ electric guitar. “Second Language” is an acoustic guitar instrumental.
I intend to take more notice of the gig guide so that I can go & see Bolton perform live. In the meantime, this CD will be getting lots of spins in my CD player.
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