Tom Pacheco "Boomtown"


Plateanmeldelser · fROOTS review · The arrival, totally out of the blue, of this brand new studio album has reassured me that all’s well with Tom.

Ever the quintessential ‘great lost American songwriter’, Tom has over the past four decades persistently followed his muse and produced more than twenty albums of thought-provoking, original songs containing succinct observations on our lives, and my last encounter with Tom, his excellent 2008 album Railroad Rainbows And Talkin’ Blues (Bare Bones VI), had indicated no drying-up of inspiration. Since then, however, there’s been a resounding silence, with no UK touring and no new product coming my way (even fanzine The Outsider seems to have gone to ground), so I was starting to get mighty worried.
But the arrival, totally out of the blue, of this brand new studio album has reassured me that all’s well with Tom. Here he treats us to thirteen of his most recent compositions, which pursue an approved course through American history following the Woodstock generation (now passing on) through to the social media fanatics (YouTube), delivering through the twin perspectives of percipient hindsight and justified nostalgia (as on Boomtown itself and the aromatic Greenwich Village reminiscence MacDougal Street Sum- mer 1966) ever-pertinent (and sometimes decidedly laconic) commentaries on the ‘plus ça change’ state of the world. As is Tom’s method, these alternate with songs of heart- rendingly tender longing and telling intro- spection like One More Time, The Healing and the disc finale One More Night Till Touch- down (inevitably, it’s the latter category that will have the greater shelf-life), as well as angry songs about the repression of key heroes (here Julian Assange) and songs telling the tales of little-known figures like DB Cooper (I bet youhave to look him up,too!). OK, just maybe one or two of the new songs here spawn rather too obvious sentiments, while What Would Woody Think? (for all that it typifies Tom’s perennial theme of celebrating the maverick in whom humani- ty’s redemption lies) invokes a distinct sense of ‘we’ve been there before’.
But Tom’s writing still hasn’t lost its radi- cal edge, and his rich, care-worn ‘eternal troubadour’ voice has lost none of its passion and commitment, while the deployment of full-band settings (with trusty collaborators Kopsland, Løland, Lowland and Neo, record- ed in Norway) doesn’t compromise the integrity, and sheer staying power, of Tom’s personal vision.
David Kidman


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