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Born in Galesburg, Illinois Americana singer-songwriter Bill Bloomer has more than one or two tales to tell. By all account he has a sack full of ‘em. Here is a man who can list Lion wrestling, Buddhist Monk and ex-rodeo Champion among his credits. To date he has attracted praise from the likes of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Eric Anderson, Butch Hancock, Greg Brown and Victoria Williams among others. 

Bloomer’s vocals are earthy, and though he isn’t blessed with the most diverse range or one that flows like water from a mountain stream he makes up for this through his careful handling of ever lyric (and he writes some of the finest I have come across in a long while) as he places sufficient character and soul into his delivery to flood the bottom lands, and more beside.  

You can detect hints of Ray Wylie Hubbard on “Columbus” and with an almost pithy feel “Goin’ Electric” comes with tender acoustic guitar, and sound effects on the intro as he delivers a compositions about the man he was inspired by Bob Dylan. It  is a song the legendary figure would be proud to call his own. It could be said on occasions he chews his words a little, but you can’t allow this to influence you because you would then be a big-time looser. 

Each song title has a place listed alongside it, Portland, San Antonio, Austin, and Memphis etc. I can only presume the tracks were either written there or the seed was sown. The “Gift Of Love” is warmed in violin, B3-organ has Austin, Texas listed alongside it, and the moody, haunting even “Roses, Bridges & Rain” has Portland but sounds more Southern than anything on the record. Hence the compelling, dark imagery of old Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that floods my mind every time I play it and I play it a lot!. On loosening the cinch Bloomer follows it with the perky banjo, accordion led “Winter On The Road”; this as he speaks of the road, Joshua Tree and Memphis and of how he’s been the new kid all his blessed life (and would be happy to spend the winter on the road). Of the curves on life’s road, and how we are just children trying to get home. With it plied in tasty accordion (Lisa Mednick Powell), piano (Bobby Furgo), banjo (Chuck Unck), guitar (Bloomer) and percussion (Danny Frankel) it’s a winner. Likewise, arguably more so Bloomer kills it dead on “Go Find Yourself”. What a wonderful conversational piece. This as you have the likes of Matt Smith (tiple), James Gwyn (drums) accompany Bloomer's guitar and lead vocals, stripped right back every little nuance is transferred to the listener. “Animal Channel” closes the record, and with classy piano (Connor Forsyth), harmonica (James Platt) you have hints of jazz breathe on Bloomer’s song, that enjoys such lines as ‘we could learn from the birds and bees in an effort to rescue and me’.   

            Maurice Hope 

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September 2018

The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
Blue Rose Records
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Locke Creek Records
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Red House Records
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Cn Records

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