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Austin based singer/songwriter/slide guitarist Tom Gillam has been entertaining audiences with his own special brand of Roots/Rock Americana for over a decade! His releases have been quite aptly called "the edgier side of Americana with a healthy dose of 70's guitar rock bombast"---Grant Alden No Depression Magazine
His sixth studio LP is a more "laid back" affair than Gillam's previous studio efforts, Rustic Beauty shows off Gillam's vocal prowess and lyrical versatility throughout it's 11 tracks of self penned ,co-penned and choice cover songs. Making wise use of the talent pool in Austin TX where he resides, Tom Gillam along with new producer Matt Giles have crafted a CD that is intimate in execution while still retaining that "rock solid" feel of previous endeavors. Gone are the "walls of guitar" sound of "Had Enough?" (2009) & "Never Look Back" (2007). Rustic Beauty takes a much subtler approach with Gillam foregoing his normal Gibson Les Paul style slide guitar and replacing it with his acoustic guitar squarely in the forefront.
On board instrument wise on most tracks are Austin sensations The Drakes, a band Gillam has been moonlighting in now for the past 2 years. Vicente Rodriguez (drums) Micheal "Cornbread" Traylor (bass) Ron Flynt (keys) and producer Matt Giles (elect. guitar) provide a solid foundation of understated-ness not easily found on Tom Gillam past releases. Additionally the inclusion on Cody Braun (Reckless Kelly) on Fiddle and Davis Spencer (Sisters Morales) on Steel Guitar make Rustic Beauty's and Gillam's "Roots" sound much more apparent than usual.
Ultimately the songs themselves become the showcase on Rustic Beauty. The self penned tunes and co-writes (with fellow Drakes Giles and Rodriguez) are a study in reflectiveness without being pretentious. Running the gamut of emotions from heartfelt love songs, life observations and even odes to "Crazy Southern Women" this is some of Tom Gillam's strongest material to date.
Rustic Beauty also includes three cover tunes, a new development in Tom Gillam's career. With a nod to his influences Rustic Beauty features his take on Poco's "A Good Feelin' To Know" along with Stephen Still's "Change Partners" a concert favorite with Gillam's audiences for years. Tom also re-works fellow Texas singer/songwriter Terri Hendrix's "Hand Me Down Blues" into beautiful poignant early 70's "Southern California" style piece that becomes a showcase for his vocals.
Rustic Beauty will surely interest any fan of "roots style" / Americana music as well as satisfy long time fans of Tom Gillam's writing and voice. This appears to be a new chapter in an on going story.