Michael Fremer Rated 8/10 Music, 10/10 Sonics!
200g Vinyl Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound! Pressed at Quality Record Pressings!
Thom Chacon could well be the subject for one of his own evocative songs. On his self-titled sophomore album on the Pie label, the Durango, CO, singer-songwriter takes on the “American Dream” in no uncertain terms. Recorded at producer Perry Margouleff’s famed Pie Studios in Glen Cove, N.Y., with Bob Dylan’s rhythm section of drummer George Recile and bassist Tony Garnier, Thom Chacon offers a series of compelling narratives that focus on the forgotten members of society.
Chacon first showed an interest in music at a young age, offering as proof a tape recording of him singing “Rhinestone Cowboy” as a three-year-old. Thom listened to story-tellers like Glen Campbell, Jim Croce, the Beatles of Rubber Soul and Smokey Robinson on his parents’ record player before picking up a guitar in fourth grade. He wrote his first song at age 16. “It wasn’t very good, but in all these years, I’ve never stopped. It’s something I have to do.”
The cinematic nature of Thom’s songs comes not only from spending time as a true outdoorsman, but also from a love of movies and vintage television westerns, with a special affection for the films of John Ford, and John Wayne, a favorite of his mom.
Thom’s narrative style is influenced by Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt, among others. He also draws influence from his colorful family history. His second cousin, Bobby Chacon was two-time boxing featherweight champion. “Bobby taught me no matter how hard it gets, you’ve go to get up off the mat and keeping fighting.” His grandfather was deputy sheriff in Silver City, New Mexico and part of the posse sent to capture Billy the Kid!
With his current music reflecting a good dose of lifetime experiences, along with the hard-earned wisdom of a man who’s paid his dues both on the land and the water, Thom Chacon is now being touted by the press as “an Americana original” and “one of the most important songwriters of our time.”
"Singer/songwriter Thom Chacon delivers hardscrapple tales in a voice well-suited to the task that will immediately remind you of what's his name? Maybe John Prine, or John Mellencamp, or Steve Earle or Bruce or Guy Clark or?
"But after a spell you'll just hear Chacon. His storytelling is as direct as his vocals. His melodies are serviceable and well-drawn, but not yet instantly memorable. It took a few plays to hear past the obvious influences but after that, this album makes for a consistently entertaining spin.
"If you're looking for allegory look elsewhere because Chacon's words are to be taken literally. His stories are of the wrongly convicted, the hunted illegal, the wanted, the indebted living the "American Dream" worth more dead "cause baby I owe", the hooked on alcohol (etc.). If you're looking for happy tunes, you've come to the wrong place, not that Chacon's characters complain. They are mostly defiant, heroic and stoic.
"The action mostly takes place on the Southwestern American border and the parched-throated Chacon sounds as if he's not had water in days. He's playing guitar and harmonica recorded live in the studio and backed by, among others, (Bob) Dylan's rhythm section of drummer George Recile and bassist Tony Garnier who keep the proceedings moving smoothly, yet turbulently throughout.
"The live-in-the-studio production by Perry Margouleff engineered by William Wittman at Margouleff's Pie Studio was recorded and mixed in our favored analog domain and mastered that way by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound so can you guess how this LP pressed at Quality Record Pressings sounds?
"I'll put it to you this way: if "Ain't Gonna Take Us Alive", with its 12 string electric doesn't deliver the chills on your stereo, your stereo needs work.
"The sound is immediate, unprocessed, three-dimensional and as deep and honest as Chacon's songwriting and singing. The dynamics and instrumental textures are as good as you will hear on a record — or live for that matter. The bass line erupts in a way you may have thought was extinct on modern recordings. Why can't everything sound this good?" - Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com, April 25, 2013
• 200g Vinyl
• Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound
• Pressed at Quality Record Pressings!
• All Analogue recording
• Limited time download card included
• Gatefold Jacket
Thom Chacon, vocals, guitar, harmonica,
Bess Chacon, backing vocals
Tony Garnier, bass (electric & upright)
Peter Stuart Kohman, mandolin
George Recile, drums, percussion
Arlan Schierbaum, accordion, keyboards
William Wittman, 12-string guitar
1. Innocent Man
2. American Dream
3. Juarez, Mexico
4. A Life Beyond Here
5. Chasing the Pain
7. Ain't Gonna Take Us Alive
8. Big River
10. No More Trouble
11. Bus Drivin' Blues
12. Grant County Side