The Story of Tone-Cool
Formed almost two decades ago, Tone-Cool Records has been vital in providing a platform for blues and country artists who would otherwise have struggled to be heard. The Story of Tone-Cool, a two-disc, 24-track retrospective, is the label’s fiftieth release, and serves to remind one of the scope and sheer talent of the label’s catalog.
Tone-Cool’s current flagship artist Susan Tedeschi opens and closes the first disc, her Janis Joplin-ish vocals beautifully constrained although able to let rip when need be. “It Hurt So Bad” is an entertaining blues workout (overdone in the Vegas way), while “Blues on a Holiday” is a subdued jazz piece demonstrating her impressive musical range. With the playfully textured “Pee Wee’s Nightmare,” Rick Holmstrom represents another unique Tone-Cool voice. The blue-collar rock of Todd Thibaud, Paul Rishell’s smoky blues and the lighthearted Love Dogs all bring something disparate and quite refreshing to the table. Toni Lynn Washington has a huge voice, and offers an amazing gospel-tinged, swampy blues with “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait,” while Terrance Simian’s easy-going front porch track is something else altogether.
Relying on instinct and craftsmanship, rather than favoring current trends, Tone-Cool artists are seriously talented musicians that defend their right to incorporate new and unconventional tones and textures in their music. The Story of Tone-Cool is a fine demonstration of the label’s valuable roster, making the point that the world might be a slightly shittier place without it.
Tone-Cool Records: http://www.tonecool.com/