Tom Vandenavond is a contemporary ghost with a wisdom in his music that exceeds his years. His sound embodies the nature of solitary travel and the inevitable connections made from a life on the road. He has torn through his midwest roots and created an auditory imprint of the highways and byways, truck stops and roadsides of the afforded white line spectacles of the American construct. If you listen you can hear a long haul on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental highway. Where the day glow over exposure of Los Angeles meets the dessert of palm springs. Red rocks and mesa tops before Phoenix and Tucson. The cumbersome nothingness of West Texas where a man can can only bide his time with his thoughts and am radio. El Paso with a glimpse of the third world at the boarder of Juarez. San Antonio and New Mexico heavy with Spanish and Native American charm. A brief pass through future city Houston and the descent into the thick air of southern Louisiana stretching over the 35 along the Pontchartrain into the heart of Cajun Country. Mississippi's Jackson County into the Panhandle. These are just a few of the back drops that bleed their influence into a catalog of work as eclectic as the land itself. You don't need to visit the hotel lafayette or have a hard south texas christmas to identify , any amount of living should draw you in.
He seems to take his notes from the rambling Jack Elliot handbook a bit of a maverick he's also not afraid of the odd straight job painting signs or slingin beer. He is part John Prine and a bit of Mark twain. He has written some of the saddest songs i've ever heard but most are coupled with a wink and a nod. He's like Rory Callahan in the Texan or Chuck Conners in the Riflemen with a guitar, A squint in his eye weather from the desert sun or the smokey respite of any bar U.S.A, you get the idea he knows something we don't and no matter how rough it gets there is comfort for the stock that he'll pull the ace from his sleeve and more or less come out on top.
Tom is a great act to catch when he flies solo but their is a great deal of magic in the company he keeps on his albums. The unparalleled talents of the Weary boys, Good luck Thrift Store, and members of the genre decimating Larry and his Flask (the Say Hey Kids when they play with Tom) have all thrown their efforts into his recordings. Each album has it's own feel and with his latest release "Oughta Know Me By Now" it's clear he can't make a bad album. Pick up the latest release but while your at it grab the other three and get to know your country. TAB
Tressa A. Burns / Managing Editor / Curator / Creative Consultant Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment Headquarters