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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Review: Tom Bolton - When I Cross The River

Tom Bolton - When I Cross The River
2007, Tom Bolton

Melbourne, Australia’s Tom Bolton is something of a throwback in folk music. Bolton recalls to mind a time when folk music was about the song and the story within the song, rather than adapting a purely pop songwriting style to acoustic instruments. Bolton grew up in a family where music was always around, exposed to everything from Cat Stevens and Jefferson Airplane to R.E.M., David Sylvian and Nick Drake. Bolton’s third release, When I Cross The River is a celebration of original folk music in its purest sense. Together with double-bass master Richard Grace, Bolton weaves 12 witty and intelligent musical monologues for your listening delight.

When I Cross The River opens with the title track, a hauntingly beautiful bit of musical prose that seems evoke love, thankfulness and regret all at once. Three Hearts has a musical melancholy that stands in contrast to the happily regretful lyrics. Whose Army has a blues vibe to it that is both energizing and fun. The highlight of the album is the folk/country All I Can Do. It's a pure ballad with a simple, memorable melody, gorgeous harmonies and lyrics that touch the listener. Bolton seems to have a talent for wrapping mixed emotions into his songs. The sense of melancholy juxtaposed with a thankful spirit is a common theme on When I Cross The River. This could become trying, but for the most part Bolton avoids getting bogged down in the sediment of sentiment. Other highlights include the Celtic flavored Where You Wanna Go, the Americana themed Hold The Sun, or Sweet Days, a gorgeous acoustic guitar instrumental.

Tom Bolton has a talent for beautiful and interesting music with a melancholic flair wrapped around lyrics and ideas that often run counter to the music in their emotional weight. Bolton's lyrics are intelligent, his melodies instantly memorable, and his performances are spot on. When I Cross The River is a strong entry in the Folk Music market and should do very well for him. It's definitely worth checking out.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Tom Bolton at You can purchase a copy of When I Cross The River at

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