Ten Ton Man
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Ten Ton Man

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States
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Still working on that hot first release.

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When Ten Ton Man’s Paul Livornese hits the stage and plugs his hollow body guitar into his 18-watt amp, you forget that he was once a successful New York Creative Director who decided to leave his job a year ago to pursue his life-long dream to become a musician.

Along with veteran stand-up bassist Paul Dugan, who was instrumental in shaping the band’s sound, both live and in studio, and longtime collaborator Paul Triff on drums, Livornese’s rich, baritone voice offers a genuine alternative to the manufactured pop
of today. On their self-titled, indie debut album, Ten Ton Man channel the spirit of Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios, Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison, Tom Waits’ Wild Years, Lou Reed’s Lower East Side, Jim Morrison’s Whisky Bar and Nick Cave’s mythic Delta while sounding entirely…new.

This is music from the heart and the gut, real and emotional, filled with death, guilt, shame, frustration and anger, but ultimately redemption. Its thematic roots lie in Livornese’s own struggle to find his muse, set against the backdrop of his father’s death, several failed band projects and a penchant for dating (and trying to comprehend) the opposite sex. “As I’ve progressed in my writing, the songs have become more personal, just more adult,” says Livornese.

The songs that formed Ten Ton Man’s debut album tell the story of its making. Livornese deals with the mysteries of the opposite sex in the Doors-like refrain of “Never Know,” one of the band’s most popular songs live. The well-named opener, “Ditty,” offers a cleansing purge, while “Yes Sir” is about being called that for the first time, a reflection on growing older, both featuring hooky banjo riffs from Erik Della Penna, who has played with Natalie Merchant and Joan Osborne. Penna also adds slide guitar to the Neil Young/Crazy Horse vibe in “Whose Shoes,” and pedal steel on the loping rockabilly of “Tired Kind.” The somber “Carry It” is a “tribute to Johnny Cash and my dad,” according to Livornese, while “The Drinking Song” recalls Morrison’s version of the Brecht-Weil classic, “Alabama Song,” a cautionary tale about the darker side of alcoholism. Award-winning filmmaker Noah Hutton has already been enlisted to direct a mini-film of “The Drinking Song,” which he describes as “Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey in Cabaret crossed with Reefer Madness.”

Songs like “Dearly” (“Hey big star/Remember me/I’m the guy who got you to where you are”) and “Whose Shoes” (“You won’t bring me down/The world is fucked when you’re around”) take dead aim on those who took advantage of him along the way.

And if starting over now seems daunting, it’s a fear he deals with in the songs he wrote for Ten Ton Man’s album. In “Fall Down,” with a trumpet flourish by Kelly Pratt (Beirut, Arcade Fire), Livornese sings, “We all fall down, gonna hit the ground/Get back up again, get on your feet son,” advice aimed as much at himself as the listener.

From darkness to light, Ten Ton Man takes you on a personal journey that is never less than compelling.