Album three and band sixteen from Minnesota-based Tony Thomas.
It’s an admiral quality in musicians to play a wide variety of styles over one’s career – and Minneapolis-based Tony Thomas has flexed his musical muscles in a range of bands prior to this third release, under the moniker Doug and Tony Show. He’s been a drummer in the past in a hardcore band and a folk and bluegrass band. He’s amassed a grand total of sixteen outfits over the years – so he’s not been a lightweight. Band names are always fun to create – and personal favourites that Thomas has played in in the past include White Casserole; The Shade Loving Begonias; and Swing, Swang, Swung.
Here he’s joined by long-time regular collaborators – Beth Pyper-Holz on backup vocals and Nick Pyper-Holz on drums and co-production duties. Opener ‘Ms Lynn’ is inspired by Loretta Lynn and is a rocky guitar/piano foot stomper. It’s about the challenges of long-term relationships and is intriguing as it changes tempo regularly, changing from 3/4 to 4/4 time – but it works. Thomas and Pyper-Holz’s combined vocals sound great.
Having lost both his parents in recent years – ‘Spinning Wheels‘ is about his parents and is a collection of memories of his upbringing. It’s another jangly guitar tune and the vocals again work superbly. Gritty guitar rocker ‘Reluctant Fools’ has a Replacements feel and is about three important people in Thomas’s life, finding themselves in situations they hadn’t planned for. This includes his musing on his 30-year-long marriage to his wife – the ‘Reluctant Fools‘ of the title – and how she wasn’t keen on the idea of marriage – but thirty years later, they’re still going strong – and the song finishes with the line – “I still have one last dream so hold on tight, We’ll still get what we want”.
‘Big Bang’ is another up-tempo rocker with some nice synth work – and this, together with the album as a whole, has a Grandaddy feel to it. Not all the tracks are rockers – there are some acoustic-tinged numbers like ‘Everybody Has A Song’ and whilst Thomas’ voice isn’t the strongest – when he sings with Pyper-Holz, the songs benefit from the effect of their combined efforts.
With nine tracks, it doesn’t outstay its welcome, but this is an enjoyable selection of songs from a talented musician.
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