Folk/country artist Thom Chacon’s upcoming sophomore self-titled album is quite the listen. Typically, the case with sophomore albums is that much like movie sequels, they rarely live up to the expectations created by the first opus. That’s not the case with Thom Chacon. His new album carries a similar feel to that of his 2010 Pie Records debut, Featherweight Fighter. But it has an overall different sound. Whereas Featherweight Fighter sounded like something that Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder would have crafted for a solo record, this new record shows more influence from the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and even Bruce Springsteen to a lesser extent.
Chacon’s sophomore release carries the influence of Dylan, Springsteen, and Petty both musically and lyrically. The album’s opener is proof of that. ‘Innocent Man’ is an obviously Dylan influenced song all the way around. Chacon sings mournfully about a man who has been wrongfully convicted of something he didn’t do. He sings, “I swear on the lord, I’m an innocent man.” Even when he becomes more defiant, singing, “You can all go to hell, I’m an innocent man”, his response is so subdued. That subdued nature makes this a tragically beautiful song. That being noted, it does the job setting the tone for what listeners can expect in this new release.
The follow-up to ‘Innocent Man’ is just as painful and real. ‘American Dream’ comes across as a commentary on the housing crisis in America. He sings, “Got a letter in the mail today/said we’re gonna foreclose/I wanna check out of this place but/I’m broke/I’m living the American Dream/For sure/I’m worth more dead/Cause baby, I owe.” Chacon doesn’t pull any punches here. He puts it right out on the table. This song instantly conjures images of the damages done to the American housing industry since about 2008. And the way in which he sings the song, it makes those images that much more vivid in listeners’ minds. That’s a powerful statement when a musician can hit home so hard so easily with a few words.
The few words of ‘American Dream’ make up just one more of the many interesting tracks here. For all the harsh realistic songs that Chacon has on his new album, he does offer listeners something more upbeat in the form of ‘A Life Beyond Here.’ What really makes this song interesting are its spiritual aspect and his love for his mother. He sings, “I tried and tried the faith/It just wouldn’t take/Now I’m a man/who never believed/But maw/When you left this world/I was able to see/There’s a life/Beyond here/I don’t’ know much/But I know you’re near/Don’t believe in anything/But this much is clear/that there’s a life/Beyond here.” It’s a bittersweet song, yes. But it’s also more positive than the album’s other songs, too. It will easily bring tears to the eyes of anyone who really listens to it and takes his lyrics as he meant them to be heard.
As is noted here, the songs on Thom Chacon’s new self-titled LP will hit home in so many different emotional avenues. They make for a hit for anyone that is a fan of real old school folk/country style music. But the lyrics aren’t all that make the album a success for fans of said genre. The songs’ length is another positive to this record. The longest of the tracks on this record clocks in at less than four minutes long. The shortest comes in at two minutes and eleven seconds. So not only do the songs paint powerful pictures in listeners’ minds, their length makes them that much more easy on the ears and minds of listeners, too. The two factors combined add up to proof of the old adage that less is more. Each song is a short story that paints a big picture. That ultimately is what makes Chacon’s new upcoming release a welcome new collection of songs for both his own fans and for fans of the folk/country style as a whole. Chacon’s new album is set to hit stores in early 2013. While audiences await its arrival, they can go online to get the latest news and more from Thom Chacon online at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thom-Chacon/188502570061 and at http://www.thomchacon.com.
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