Tom Langford,
(GoDigital, 2007)

Back in 2005, Tom Langford released Here Comes Memory. Shortly thereafter, Tom had to put his musical career on hold during a time when his life was in disarray. His marriage was having difficulties, he had a drinking problem and his best friend had died of cancer. After a self-imposed hiatus, Tom has come back to his music career to release the 5 track EP Acoustic. These songs represent some of his favorites from over the years.

If you are familiar with any of Tom's CDs, you know his brand of folk-rock music is generally fleshed out with multiple instruments and even backup singers. The style is a little more folk-rock vs. the folk sound found on Acoustic. Tom has a good voice, which goes well with both genres.

On the original version of "You're Gonna Make It" from the CD Here Comes Memory, Tom is backed up by a female vocalist during the chorus. On Acoustic, it is just Tom and his guitar. The lyrics are rather painful. "I would dive in to the bottom of a well, looking for you, breaking the spell. Oh you'll never know and I'll never tell all that I am heaven and hell. ... Here comes the sunshine, here comes the rain. Here comes the breakdown all over again."

The original version of "Skin for Skin" was made for radio. Despite the peppy beat, the lyrics are a downer. "OK, I'm back. Get your train off my track. Here's a little feedback for you. This is how it is -- skin for skin. ... You said goodbye, Finally felt your heart cry. Finally felt your heart crack in two...." The acoustic version slows down the tempo and you actually hear pain in Tom's vocals.

I would be very hard pressed to tell you which versions I prefer -- the originals with all the layering or the stripped-down remakes. The originals are much more complex with multiple instruments supporting the melodies. The acoustic versions are more raw, almost soul-bearing. In the end, I would have to pick the full-length albums simply because you get to hear more of Tom's talent. If he had recorded at least 10 songs for this disc, I might be recommending it over the originals. As it is, you can look at this EP as either a special version of select Tom Langford songs or as a nice introduction to what his music is like without all the bells and whistles.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

27 October 2007

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