Tom Savage,
Never Shed No Tears
(independent, 2006)

Tom Savage's sound drifts from style to style, and at times you can hear echoes of other musicians in his work. His raspy voice and perspective are the commonality through the songs as both style and sound change from one track to the next.

The rough rasp of Savage's voice matches the edges the imagery in "Never Shed No Tears." The flute in the bridge marks the only stretch the music takes the lead in the song. The harmonica in the intro sets the old rock feel of "Beneath the Rocks" and the driving beat of the drums keeps it going. The lyrics drift quietly into a protest song in "The State We're In," and the tone of the music is understated to the content.

The finger-picking in "On & On" gives the music a bluegrass edge that the tone of the vocals builds upon. The music changes mode again, becoming the faint backing for "No Turning Back" and letting the images in the lyrics set the mood of the song. "Hang Your Head & Cry" could easily shift to call and reply if sung live as politics return to the lyrics.

There is a slight dissonance in "Wrong Side of Town" as the edge in the lyrics is not matched by the easy delivery of the music. Various cliches form the lyrics of "Patiently Wait," and the images they form are grainy and shift from verse to verse. The piano sets the tone of "I May Be a Lover," giving it all the feel of a slow closer, as melancholy runs through the lyrics.

Diversity can be a very good thing and that is certainly the case with Never Shed No Tears. Tom Savage gives a sampler of some of the different approaches to folk music with well-written lyrics and music.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Paul de Bruijn

21 June 2008

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