Tom McRae - Did I Sleep and Miss the Border
Do not sleep, do not miss him
It feels good hearing an album from Tom McRae. To the ears, to the heart, to the mind, to the skull... of anybody sensitive enough to a true, intact, instrument-full music.
For you mustn’t look for the Tom McRae of the early years, the gloomy one with the pared-down instrumentations. His style has evolved, has become mature; since 3 or 4 albums he seems to have found himself and has been serving us a firmly optimistic, sincere music of folk and classical inspirations. Enriched by instruments out of the usual guitar-bass-drums rock combo (strings, ukulele, jew’s-harp, horns...), he pays attention to his arrangements, summons a group of musicians (The Standing Band), henceforth adds backing vocals – a real novelty which brings an interesting plus.
Listening to this 7th album could lead to play the rapprochements with The Alphabet of Hurricanes (2010), finding in "Expecting the Rain" an air of "Won't Lie", in "My Desert Bride" some traces of "Still Love You", in "What a Way to Win a War" the same almost tribal proliferation as "Please", in "Let Me Grow Old with You" the slowness of "Can't Find You"... never mind. Each piece is so musical, so consistent. I like, I adopt.
And well how about this voice! Particular, clear, beautiful, familiar. He can always talk to me. The ease of his singing is communicative. And it’s been lasting for 15 years, 15 years it feels good hearing an album from Tom McRae.
Don’t panic, you’ve got time, 4:25 per song in average. Enough to let the tunes get into you. The bluesy "The Dogs Never Sleep" and its heady 4-note theme. The worried "Out of a Clear Blue Sky" where you can see yourself growing old. The comforting and brotherly "Hoping Against Hope", which I could just imagine finishing a concert.
53 minutes and no time to get bored; you even would take a little more. Good news, there is an extended version with 3 extra tracks (including 2 very good ones).
The Dogs Never Sleep
What a Way to Win a War
Expecting the Rain
Christmas Eve, 1943
“I'm growing old, and I'm scared of what the future holds” ("Out of a Clear Blue Sky")