Tom Gillam :: Better Than The Rest


Met zijn laatste drie CD’s heeft zanger/gitarist Tom Gillam een plaats in de eredivisie van de rootsrock veroverd. Deze Better Than The Rest: An Anthology is met een enkele uitzondering (drie niet eerder uitgebrachte nummers plus zijn klassieker Never Look Back) een verzameling liedjes van daarvoor, toen hij nog geen echte platenmaatschappij had. En wat blijkt? Ook toen kon de tegenwoordig in Austin, Texas wonende Gillam er wat van. Zo zouden The Allman Brothers Band en Lynyrd Skynyrd waarschijnlijk geklonken hebben als ze een jaar alleen maar naar countrymuziek geluisterd hadden.

Better Than The Rest – An Anthology by Tom Gillam, one of most popular Blue Rose Acts at the moment – what can we expect from this? A simple Best of selection, a chronological career review or a collection of demos, outtakes and live material? Actually none of the above, but almost a really new product, that will stand on its own in the Gillam discography. “Almost” only because it indeed is older song material, but hardly known by anybody.

Mostly hidden stayed the fact that Tom Gillam already had a musical life before. Three early records are credit to his account, which certainly didn’t cross the Atlantic Ocean often: the 1998 debut First Of All, Dallas in 2001 and last but not least the by many relevant medias appreciated Shake My Hand (2004). The first two records clearly belonging to the classical country/roots/folk rock category, with the third record Gillam expanded his spectrum by heading towards a much straighter rock direction – of course with a strongly based Americana foundation.

The now presented compilation Better Than The Rest acknowledges just this era, offering an extraction of the most important songs, by Tom Gillam selected and with the tastefully arranged liner notes reviewed: Three tracks of the debut album and four of each of the two others.

To top all this, Anthology offers three previously unreleased tracks: “Fountain Bleu”, a beautiful capturing semi-acoustic ballad with a melodic lead guitar and beautiful steel, recorded during the Never Look Back sessions; “Emily”, a vigorous 6:42 electric rocker from 2009 that really has Neil Young’s “Words” feel to it and on which his band Tractor Pull, especially second lead guitarist Craig Simon, got to demonstrate  their extraordinary skills; and finally “Long Way Home” from the Shake My Hand phase – Tom Gillam on straight country route with backing choir, harmonica, pedal steel and endless chorus to hum along without restraint.

Better Than The Rest is a musically and visually top of the line product which clearly shows how much passion as well as heart and soul Tom Gillam put into this. And time! Just about a miracle, considering how many activities, especially with the latest US Rails project and his announcement to be working on new songs already. And just in case, he already mentioned a possible sequel of the Anthology… Well, let‘s enjoy this one for now!

1. Dallas
2. Abby & Andy
3. Outside The Lines
4. Fade Away
5. Fountain Bleu
6. High
7. Killing Time
8. Shake My Hand
9. Never Look Back
10. Whisper In The Wind
11. Every Morning
12. Take It Easy (On Me)
13. Emily
14. Just As Well
15. Long Way Home



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