Bill Toms & Hard Rain
Good For My Soul
It’s a calm night here in Tampa, but in less than 48 hours I know a hard rain is going to fall. For comfort I’m chilling with Bill Toms & Hard Rain. Bill and his band are journeymen musicians playing down home blues based rock. The music is the sort of thing that is the idealized bar band blues. These guys are the sort of blues rockers that the Blues Brothers played in the movies. They’re the kin of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and the Iron City House Rockers. They aren’t about to be chart toppers, but they’ll make folks happy down at the hole in the wall on a Saturday night.
Bill Toms sings about working and desperate times with a raw honesty. His backing band includes an ace horn section who punctuate the songs ripping solos. Toms sings about the “Devil’s Train” and “Desperate Times”, but then he turns the barroom into a church with the hand clapping, gospel revival of “I’m Sad No More”. Bill Toms & Hard Rain preaches the gospel of Stax and keep faith with the Chess brothers. They keep the spirit of Sam Cooke and Clarence Clemons alive. They know how to sing about hard times. They know how to reassure that hard times don’t last. They hold service on the blues bar circuit and offer absolution with a beer and a shot of bourbon most weekends. I’m ready to testify. It’s good for the soul.