Tom Stevens
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Tom Stevens

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"Bucketfull of Brains (London): Tom Stevens - Home (Avebury)"

Sightings of Tom Stevens on any horizon have been rare these last ten years. The splendid Another Room surfaced in the mid-90s and was followed shortly by the retrospective collection Points Revisited, but then, apart from postings on the Paisley Pop list and an intermittent advert running in No Depression, it was silence.

That silence was broken in 2004 when the classic line-up of the Long Ryders toured Europe and kicked ass. But for whatever reason that stayed a one-off, and Tom returned to his family in Indiana. Something however had stirred and [he's now released]...his first album for the new millennium.

It's called Home because that's where it was made and that's where it comes from. It's self-recorded and almost absolutely solo; daughter Sarah plays violin and sings on a couple of tracks and "Uncle John" Potthast adds banjo and Fender Bender on another but the rest is Tom. And he's come up with a stunner, a stone classic.

With its mix of LA folk-pop, psychedelia, and a little bit of country, you could call it a paisley potpourri.

"Ghost Train" starts things off mightily with a drench of reverb and echoing guitars shimmering boldly with a phantom jangle beneath. Then comes the chunkily Pettyish "Belladonna" followed on by the country-hued Dillard & Clark-esque "In The Basement", on which Potthast guests. Some darker tones surface in "Death Wish" and "Flame Turns To Blue", being songs about passing and loss, though they can't help but retain the vivacity of the rest of the album. Next up is "Away From The Great Cold City", by some stretch the longest song here; at times reminiscent of Beatle George by way of the Chamber Strings, across its length it demonstrates a marvellous palette of arresting guitar play. The triumphant title track, the keening "Flying Out Of London In The Rain", and "Weekendland" finish up the collection. "Weekendland" is like the Beatles playing country with Costello singing, while "Flying Out Of London In The Rain" is a road song with a certain kinship, through subject, to "Eight Miles High". About the bitter-sweet jadedness that tends to surface on the flight home it's plaintive and true; lines like "stuff my soul in the overhead" and its lovely female vocals mean it's probably the standout of the many good things here. For this is an assured and mature collection of performances of fine songs.

It retains freshness over many hearings combining the thrill of recognition with a hardly-diminishing sense of surprise and wonder. Tom has allowed himself free rein, but seemingly as a consequence of his own enthusiasm and excitement about the music he's making. And the result is a real pleasure.

–Nick West, Bucketful of Brains (London, UK)
- Nick West


"The Big Takeover 61: Tom Stevens - Home (Avebury)"

Roots-rock has been done to death this decade. but you'd be hard pressed to find it done harder/better. For starters, Stevens helped instigate its original '80s resurgence with L.A.'s LONG RYDERS, just part of a 31-year recording career dating to 1976's MAGI. And Home hits like the best Long Ryders--think "Still Get By" --with shades of Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield, 1966 George Harrison, and especially GENE CLARK. If anyone knows Clark, it's Stevens, having backed him on bass before the BYRDS legend's death in 1991. (Clark also cameo'd with Long Ryders on 1984's Native Sons.) The exuberant Home is 10 parts "So You Say You Lost Your Baby" and "Elevator Operator" ("Home") and two parts "Why Not Your Baby" the Stones' "Wild Horses" and Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" ("Flying out of London in the Rain"). Despite playing all instruments in his home basement studio in Indiana (From "Belladonna," he's clearly tired of Hollywood values!), there isn't one under-constructed, underplayed, or under-written second on his first new album in 12 years. All four Long Ryders reunited for a 2004 tour of the U.K. and Spain, but from this, they couldn't have a better co-headliner than their own bassist. (aveburyrecords.com)

– Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover 61 - Jack Rabid


Discography

TOM STEVENS
Home (2007) (Avebury Records)
This Note's for You, Too! (1999, song on Neil Young tribute)
Points Revisited (1997) (Maia Records)
Another Room (1995) (Maia Records)
Points of View (1983) (Pulse Records)

WITH THE LONG RYDERS
State of Our Reunion (2008) (Prima Records)
Best of (2004) (Prima Records)
Three Minute Warnings (2003) (Prima Records)
Looking For Lewis & Clark: The Anthology (1998) (Polygram Records)
Metallic B.O. (1989) (Prima Records)
Two Fisted Tales (1987) (Island Records)
State of Our Union (1985) (Island Records)
Native Sons (1984) (Frontier Records)

WITH DANNY & DUSTY
The Lost Weekend (1985) (A&M Records)
Cast Iron Soul (bonus DVD only, live 1986)

WITH JACK WATERSON
Whose Dog (1988, producer)

WITH CHRIS CACAVAS AND JUNK YARD LOVE
s/r (1988)

WITH MAGI
Win or Lose (1976)

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Bio

During his long and prolific musical career, Tom Stevens has recorded over a dozen albums, both solo and with Magi, The Long Ryders, Danny & Dusty, Chris Cacavas and Junk Yard Love and Jack Waterson. As a solo artist his blistering guitar playing and depth of songwriting speak volumes, both on stage and in the studio on Stevens' three solo albums: Another Room, Points Revisited, and his latest release, Home.

While still a teenager in Indiana, infatuated with 60s garage and hard-edged rock and roll, he joined regional heroes Magi, a dual-guitar, kick-ass rock and roll band. When Magi packed their gear and moved west to Los Angeles, they found their angle had gone out of style, replaced by the vibrant punk energy of Black Flag and X. As other band members moved home, Stevens stayed in Hollywood, absorbing the raw sounds and urban sensibilities of the L.A. musical landscape. It was during this period, in between working his shifts at the legendary Tower Records on the Sunset Strip, that Tom first began seriously writing songs.

Taking a cue from the thriving DIY punk scene around him, with the help of some friends, he took those songs and produced a six-song EP on Pulse Records, 1981's Points of View, which eventually sold out its’ original pressing and started him on a solo career. This was quickly side-tracked as a fateful series of events one day led him to join the soon to be legendary roots-rock godfathers, The Long Ryders, in late 1983.

During his 3-1/2 years as a Long Ryder, Stevens saw the release of three albums (all featuring Stevens-penned songs)-Native Sons, State of Our Union and Two Fisted Tales as well as lengthy worldwide tours, many international magazine covers, a UK top 40 hit ("Looking For Lewis & Clark"), long runs on European and U.S music charts, and several live TV appearances.

Stevens was also a member of the legendary Danny & Dusty, whose album The Lost Weekend made the year-end top ten best albums list in the New York Times. Additionally, he played with Gene Clark of The Byrds-as a stand-up bass player with Clark on a few of his last live L.A. performances.

http://www.tomstevens.org/

http://www.myspace.com/tomstevens