If you are looking for some great rustic acoustic jams, look no further than Ronnie Tom’s eponymous debut album. This 12-track compilation is filled with Tom’s gravelly voice, his guitar, heartache, and not much else — but not much else is necessary.
The opener “Broken Car” is a perfect acoustic pop number that is a musical metal plate that you can’t (and don’t want to) get out of your head. It’s only two minutes long, but like Del Amitri’s one-minute-and-52-second masterpiece “Roll to Me,” you don’t need that much time to create pop perfection. The sorrowful “You Don’t Need Me” ends with Tom’s raspy voice proclaiming just that: “You don’t need me.” “Haunting You” is a creepy and torturous lament that would fit perfectly on Beck’s beautiful breakup album Sea Change.
Tom channels Elvis Costello on track 6, especially on the chorus where the feeling emanates from his voice and his fingers straight to your ear. “If I could step out of my mind/ Spend some time with my heart/ And I want to know if you feel the same way/ As I do.”
Ronnie Tom is like a combination of Costello, Bob Dylan, and even his son, the Wallflowers’ Jakob Dylan, especially on “Ain’t That Lonely Yet.” Tom has been writing songs for over a decade and his blues and oldies influences are distinctly present in his music, while his songwriting leans more toward a couple of his other influences, Chris Isaac and Dwight Yoakam. His weathered voice encapsulates a weary soul that is ready and eager to be heard. The musical world needs to wake up and hear it.