Sometimes it happens that an album that we've been hearing is coming for a long time, that the people making it have told us is going to be really cool, turns out to be a real let down. I'm not trying to obliquely refer to any albums in particular, but we're all familiar with the phenomenon. No, the point of this post is that it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes, when we've been waiting and waiting for something, and we finally get to hear it, it really is as cool as the producers were telling us it was going to be. And is happily the case with both CDs I played on the way south today.
Tom Smith's And They Say I've Got Talent rocks. Based on one listen in the car, this is probably his best album yet. I'd heard live acoustic versions of many of the songs, but the album versions are really good, and the songs are really good. Delightful Tom Smith silliness of course, but those of us who want to hear more of Tom's serious stuff along with the silly and the satirical get some goodness there as well. If you are a Tom Smith fan, you probably already have it, but if you're wavering, get off the fence and go buy it. It's a great album (and Tom is a great guy and he needs the money).
Tired of This Exile by James Donal Faulkner is the album bedlamhouse has been dropping juicy hints about for years. I almost missed it because Faulkner's name is not solidly familiar to me and the cover is not very eye catching and frankly didn't look like a real album sitting among all the other stuff on billroper's table. But I managed to notice it, and once I played it, boy am I glad I did. Wow. Wonderful songs, Celtic/folk style stuff (not filk), some traditional, some modern subjects, but all good; Faulkner has a great voice, a bit reedy (in a good way, though -- not squeaky at all), good vocal technique, and there's killer backing guitar work supported by other instruments. All of us aspiriing singer/guitarists (well, the male ones anyway) are hoping if we're really good, work hard, and eat our Wheaties we might grow up to sound this good.