Sensible Tom,
Acoustic Caravan
(self-produced, 2003)

From notes on his website, it appears Tom Bolton is Australian, a contemporary folk musician who is experienced and yet rising on a new star after sitting quietly on the ground (musicially, anyway) for a bit.

He opens with the sound of a melody flowing through a dark evening sky with "Breaking Away." The next cut is a gentler ballad called "Every Street Corner," which reminds me of a Celtic lullaby. "Next World" sits soundly in the folk-coffeehouse setting and almost sounds like an improvised good-night song.

"Still You Go Before Me" was written by Tom and Min Flipo, who adds her vocals along with Peter Haydon. Both add percussion and vocals while Tom leads with deep acoustic guitar strains. My favourite track is "Unseen Fingers of the Wind," and the beat is similar to "Breaking Away," appropriately with a caravanic sway.

The arrangements and lyrics were a shared effort to keep it simple and it works for Bolton's voice and guitar. Min's voice is so different that it actually complements Tom's warm, relaxed tones. Her higher notes wrap the song in fine wire, lifting the sound and adding interest. There're tremors in "Wishing Well" that may be deliberate, but that's questionable.

I appreciated the gentle folk sound of this CD and the guitar playing by Tom, and I was especially intrigued by effects on the "Sacred House" track. The CD didn't pick me up and carry me away, but it's a good solid representation of Tom Bolton, who will probably take this experience and go do something a little less safe the next time.

by Virginia MacIsaac
6 January 2007

[ visit the artist's website ]