January 21, 2010

Week 20 - Tom Gillam - Had Enough?

 (This is Week 20 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks. See the first 19 here.)

Check your number / check your card / check to see if you know who you are.
Pay the piper / pay the bills / pay attention to those aches and those ills.

- “Had Enough”

Tom Gillam
Had Enough?
Smith Entertainment

The first time I saw Tom Gillam live, it was at Gruene Hall in the summer of 2006. He had just died. Really. In March 2006 he died on the operating table of a heart attack. Of course, the doctors were able to bring him back and he resumed his music career… eventually moving to Austin in 2009.

Gillam wasted no time in getting friendly with the locals when he arrived in town. Guest musicians on Had Enough? include the likes of Guy Forsyth, Ed Jurdi (Band of Heathens), and Micky Braun. His backing band, Tractor Pull, is nothing to sneeze at either. Regular member include producer Joe Carroll (guitars), Alejandro Escovedo alum Al Durham (guitar), Tim McMaster (bass), Craig Simon, and Dave Latimer.

That said, Had Enough? continues the progression of Gillam's sound, which is decidedly roots-rock with an Americana twang to it.  It’s got that Eagles feel to it with Gillam’s vocals sounding like a cross between Tom Petty, Todd Snider and Ian Moore.

On Had Enough? Gillam is able to easily jump from rocking roadhouse jams like “Had Enough” or “Ride” to ballads like “Million Miles Away” and “Tear In The Rain.”

How do you choose standouts on an album with 11 really well crafted songs? How about I choose a rocker and a ballad? (I'll assume you say.. "sure Sean.. why don't you do that."

“She Was A Dancer…” is a toe-tapping jam seemingly about a stripper  that includes the line “I’d spend a fortune just to get her to turn around."

On the flip side “Ready To Begin” is probably the song I took most to heart. Everyone deserves a second chance (in Gillam’s case he literally got one) and this track is about making the change in your life to become…well... who you actually are. “Time to be allright in my own skin. “The road behind has finally led me here / The road ahead you never know / I was blind once now I see things oh so clear / I think I know the way to go.”

Gillam has lived in Austin for about a year now and we’re glad he’s here. But, as he said when I saw him on stage in 2006, I’ll bet he’s just happy to be anywhere.

I may have to go check him out again on Sunday (1/24) as he’s playing Adobe Verde in New Braunfels If you can’t make that show, he’s playing all over Austin in the next few months, check him out at http://www.tomgillam.com.


Take a listen to the entire album:

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