DIARY - 23 JULY 2013 - ADAM TOMS CD REVIEW
RICH MAN (www.adamtoms.com)
TOMS BEATS A DIFFERENT DRUM
and my baby don't got much, but we got something/ love on the money, high
on the loving/ we keep working, saving, praying and paying our dues/ it's
hard to get it, even harder to keep it/ almighty dollar is always up and
leaving/ I told my baby I don't have a care/ I don't have to be a millionaire/
I'm a rich man because we got each other." - Rich Man - Drew McAlister-Tamara
country singer-songwriter Adam Toms put his money where his mouth
was in June, 2011.
The latter day Benalla bard and wife Jo sold their house and quit
their day jobs and hit the road with their two young children.
They made a documentary, edited by renowned video director Ross Wood,
and packaged it with his third album Rich Man - a 12 song indie
disc featuring 10 Toms originals.
Are We There Yet - On The Road With Adam Toms - is a bare bones
reality rooted reflection of life far from the glitter of pop music
in the big city concrete corrals and faux fern bars.
It also included
six video clips - a major feat for an indie rural artist completely reliant
on CMC Pay TV, ABC TV and indie TV shows.
That joyous journey is captured graphically in the song Are We There
Yet - an autobiographical tale with a little help from the wife and
This CD is a commercial conduit with ABC and community radio with a little
support from regional stations not programmed from city hubs.
So what's the rest of the music like?
Well, the title track - penned by Goulburn Valley born singer Tamara Stewart
and Narrabri refugee Drew McAlister - draws on the old analogy that true
love is more lucrative for the soul than money.
Toms kicks off with the anthemic Rowdy Together, penned with McAlister's
recording and performing partner Drew Kemp.
It's a generic party tune, torn from the pages of Brooks & Dunn and
their modern descendants Justin Moore, Luke Bryan and, of course, locals
artists such as McAlister Kemp.
Toms further exploits that Machisomo imagery in Boots and audience
participation tune Is Everybody Doin' OK.
The latter was penned by frequent Aussie tourist David Lee Murphy, Shane
Minor and a chap by the monicker of J.P Twang who was published by expat
Australasian Barry Coburn and wrote the Reba McEntire hit Turn On The
More melodic and credible is Much Like A Man - an attempt to repair
a ruptured romance before it's too late with parallels to paternal history
- that benefits from the feminine touch of co-writer Felicity Urquhart.
Equally redemptive is the post road trip plea - with broken down automotive
metaphor - to a fleeing femme fatale in another Kemp collaboration Tell
It's no surprise that Toms is at his best on his evocative songs such
as the duet with Chris E Thomas on Can't Quit You and the mood
swings of his paternal paean I Wouldn't Change A Thing.
He borrows from the balladry and vocal accessibility of expat superstar
Keith Urban in the cheating challenges of Temptation but can also drive
an up-tempo song - the freewheeling Rollin - without being burdened
by country clichés.
A fitting finale is the pathos primed Shine On Me where Toms inhabits
the shoes of a farmer, working a 15 hour day, who is decimated by fire
The plaintive sun metaphor drives home the message of the Australian bush
families raped by nature and city firebugs and later banks and insurance
companies in their recovery phase.
Fertile food for thought if you can swallow it.
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