Texas singer/songwriter Tom McELvain’s third studio album ‘Redemption’ is set to drop this Friday, June 22 and it certainly has our attention here at TMP.
Recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX, and produced by Joe Austin and Charles Godfrey, it features eleven original tracks written by McELvain, and a cover of“The House of the Rising Sun” that the Wichita Falls, Texas native puts his own evocative spin on.
As McELvain journeys through twenty years of his past, he takes the listener through anguish, loss, drug abuse, love, and hope for the future; concocting a listening experience that’s makes for a roller coaster ride of emotion.
McELvain, who has written for artists like Cody Jinks (“Rock and Roll” and “Grey”) offers listeners a generous serving of sensational vocals, energetic presentation, honest songwriting, and unrestrained music. There’s a lot of lively instrumentation, a lot of range, a lot of depth, and…every bit of it is good. The album plays out more like a 13 track performance, rather than an album. Sometimes it’s in your face, sometimes it lures you in, and sometimes it’s a dance back and forth between the two.
Whether it’s coming from the darkness of a long night of substance abuse (“Lady in Red”), the sorrow for not being there for your children (“Why”), divine optimism (Miracles), or love (“Damn I Love You”) there’s nothing held back. McELvain lays it all out there unabashed and unapologetic for doing so.
I love when albums feel so much bigger than just successive tracks of music, songwriting, and vocals, and that’s most certainly the case here. It’s a life story, it’s real and you feel every gut punch, as well as every glimmer of hope, and you try to keep your head above water with what lies in between. THIS is an album! Penetrating songwriting, rich and full music, and damn this dude can sing!
There are so many layers to this one, that it’s almost impossible to appreciate with one, or even 5 play-throughs. If you play through it and don’t “get it”, trust me, play it through a few more times and see if more of the album doesn’t reveal itself each time until you’re completely captivated by it.
Our *PICK* of the album is “Crank Thinking”. One of the deepest and darkest tracks on the record, McELvain pulls the listener right in to his strung-out battle with vices and demons. The apocalyptic imagery is incredible and the story is mesmerizing. What’s realy amazing is how powerful the song is when the entire track is just vocals and guitar (it’s one of the two acoustic track on the record). If you want to truly appreciate this one, put your headphones on, close your eyes, listen to every word, and let the song bring you in to the ordeal. Hell, do that for the whole album…
We definitely recommend grabbing a copy when it drops this Friday, but in the meantime check out our pick of the album, “Crank Thinking”, below!
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.