MP3 Tommy Hale - Stolen Conversations, Three Chords and the Truth
Texas rock with a twang
10 MP3 Songs in this album (36:12) !
Related styles: ROCK: Americana, COUNTRY: Alt-Country
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Maybe it''s something that seeps up from the arid earth and through rootless boots, or maybe its the metaphorical southern soul stew that is liberally served from sunrise to sunset all mixed with an innate sense of independence, maybe even arrogance, but Ive long wagered that Texans are odds on when the records come through the mail for reviewing. They''re never tepid or timorous, always tough, true and tangible, and hardly ever trite or untrustworthy.
That he''s from Texas (Dallas) isn''t what makes Tommy Hale an important figure for roots aficionados of a certain fancy. That he uses these characteristics to bring his songs to life with imagery thats epic in the subtle reflection of everyday experience is what will make him an increasingly important figure in the quagmire of Americana. Theres a bitterness as beguiling as on The Jayhawks opulent Tomorrow The Green Grass opus, the love stories are oblique yet observant studies resplendent in the morass of minor details that would-be mavericks of a similar scale skip over for the greater glory of the urbane mundane, for instance the achingly gorgeous the way you glance down when you laugh is more than I can bear'' on Told Me To off debut solo release Far From Grace (2003) - its by no means a far fetched flight of fancy that Tommy has covered The Cures beautiful, swoonsome classic Just Like Heaven on the sanctified strength of the quiet caustic-ness and reserved rapture inherent in his idiosyncratic stance. The tunes touched with the taint of tragedy are allegorical in the manner of Leonard Cohen that same records Uncle Jim could have graced Songs Of Love And Hate with effortless grandeur. More than a gesture or a flourish, though he provides musical and lyrical flourishes with savage abandon, Hales songs float like heat-haze on the surface of endless highways heading into eternal horizons with a gentle chill blowing through hair and around hat rims with an insistence that is as insidious as it is invigorating.
Coolly considered and calmly collected this onward moving and outward thinking oeuvre is composed from a lifetime of playing music and suffering, then questioning, its attendant catastrophes. Paying those dues and looking them right in the eye when you hand over the goods. Charged with a clear sense of purpose Mr Hale doesnt need to shout from the rooftops, or indeed shoot it from the fourth floor window of a library, this is a quest undertaken purely for himself. Self-assured but never flippant his occasional Lou Reed drawl shouldnt detract from an exploratory earful as he drops the clinical cool for candour, charm and the warmth of weary wisdom. Too clever to kow-tow to cliché yet too affected by them to have turned his back on music for a lengthy period several years ago, that he returned is reason to salute not only that old Texan survivor spirit, but also that of this individual songwriter.
I came across this troubadour of loves lifetime cost and curious remains sometime early on in 2003 I do believe. He was coming over and, as he does when in the UK, hooked up with his mates from London band The Snakes to play a few dates. He contacted me through The Dogs DAmours yahoo group to see if we could sort out a gig in Manchester (he covered The Dogs treasure Saviour on Far From Grace with bottle and bible tenderness), which I proved spectacularly useless at so I travelled to, and unravelled in, Wigan, where in the dim wasteground of memory, Tommy and The Snakes played a fine, much rockier set in a strange venue with frightening stairs. Roll the dice another year hence and that Manchester gig finally materialised at the ever-vaunted Club Voodoo. It wasnt exactly packed but Tommy and assorted Snakes played with the spontaneity and passion of an E Street Band in 1978 prime, ruffling and pulling feathers from the too cool for school Manc hipsters and awopbopped em in their hats like so many scalps.
So this is Tommy Hale. I''m pleased and proud to have made his acquaintance and heard his way with the word and the wires. Industrial Dallas dealt a dab hand here. Delve in and take a discerning ride through dreams, desires and dire consequences.