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coverpic flag Pennsylvania - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 14 - 12/14/97

Tom Sheehan
Where You Are
19 North Records

Tom Sheehan has appearantly been a local little treasure for several years, releasing a record already in 1977. Where You Are was recorded last year, and shows a songwriter worthy of attention also outside the state border. He is a crafty musician, playing competently almost every instrument available, it seems. On this record the only additional musicians are David Cullen, who contributes with his exquisite guitar playing, and Ken Gehret on violin, adding a folky feeling to some of the songs. He covers Steve Earle's Nothing But A Child and John Prine's Angel From Montgomery, which both fits nicely into his own row of songs, whose lyrics seems to be of more importance than the melodies, which for the most aren't too original.

The opening title track, Where You Are is very close to Dire Straits in atmosphere, with David Cullen's guitar resembling the playing of Mark Knopfler, and Sheehan's laidback half-rusty voice not so very far away from Knopfler's either. This song, and the next one, City Of Angels, are both inspired by the O.J. trials, but I bet you'd never guess from the lyrics, which take a broad, soulful approach to the whole thing.

Goodbye O.J., hello Elvis! The third song, Die Like Elvis, is a faster rock'n'roll tune, with a rather infectious chorus. In fact, the refrain got stuck in my head just after one listening: "I don't want to die like Elvis, I don't want to go out like the King". Then there's also the fine tex-mex-like (I think..) effort of Under The Desert Sky, a "romantic ballad about the most romantic spot on earth - Santa Fe, New Mexico". But after this song, things start to mellow out a little, and unless I'm sitting with the lyrics in front of me, the rest of the songs fails to grab my attention. However, the overall well-written lyrics should appear engaging to a lot of listeners.

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