Review by Roger Sharman
One of the big pluses of writing in the country music industry for me is the amount of new music that I get to listen to. That being said, it’s not all good, but it’s certainly worth listening to the not so good records to uncover the gems, that’s exactly what Tom Buller’s October 16th release ‘When a Country Boy Gets the Blues’ is, a rare gem.
Tom, hailing from Nebraska has been plying his trade in Honky Tonks up & down the US for years, so it comes as no surprise that he has put together one of the long players of the year, in fact Saving Country Music.Com have nominated it for 2018 album of the year, and I have to agree with that nomination. The sheer brilliance of Tom’s writing is obvious from the outset, the opener ‘She Lets Me Run’ this song personally means a lot to me. It’s a song about unconditional love & having the freedom so that the love is unstifled.
Highlighting Tom’s classic country vocal range as well as his undisputed talents with a guitar in his hands ‘If I Can Make Texas’ is a classic honky tonker, of broken love & hitting the road to escape it. The fiddle in this is absolutely immense.
The pure emotion in Tom’s vocals and lyrics stand out like a modern-day Keith Whitley in ‘You Must be an Angel’. This song is a classic in any era, the guitar solo could be Clapton playing one of his finest slow burners.
The title track ‘When a Country Boy Gets the Blues’ is Country, Blues and Soul all wrapped into one stunningly beautiful love song. It should be a massive hit –“there’s a lot of songs about loving and leavin, he lets the guitar do the Weeping”. Simple yet wonderful lyrics accompanying the pure feeling this song evokes.
In ‘Whiskey and Wanting You’ the guitar comes to life, think Randy Travis or Conway Twitty singing a breakup song & here you have another absolute classic. The natural country ladder that Buller’s vocal hits reminds me of that Cody Jinks warble, it’s just full of pure emotion.
The stonkers keep coming, next in the form of ‘Shackles of Your Memory’, another slow burning country blues hit right here in the making. These songs are drenched in power and feeling, as if Buller has been writing hits for the last 20 years. To say this is one of the highlights would be true, but all of the songs are highlights in their own right.
‘Fly high flying high to keep from feeling low’ Is straight out of a Texas Honky Tonk. I can see folk hitting the dance floor, two-stepping away to this all night long. The way the keyboards, Pedal Steel & Fiddle complement each other is a sheer Delight in this. Its multi-layered, it’s like 3D Country music.
More of the same in ‘Same Old Solution’, it’s a song about drinking and breaking up. Another absolutely outstanding track. To be honest, it’s the first time I’ve noticed backing vocals in the whole album, such is the hypnotising effect Tom’s vocals have. I’ll have to go back and listen to it all again just see to see if there are others that contain them, I really don’t have a clue whether they do right now or not, all I’m hearing is Tom’s voice & I’ve listened to this album many times already!
‘I tried’ is a real tearjerker, another breakup song, this could be a Willie Nelson and Tracy Lawrence collaboration, it’s it’s an absolute beauty.
Most the album has been written by Tom (all except one, I believe) & covers love, the blues, drinking, heartache, hope and despair. This album is true, it’s real and it’s from the heart. It’s living and breathing & it’s totally amazing do yourself a huge favour & buy it today you won’t be disappointed.
Come back soon to read my interview with Tom.