Tom Paxton

Looking for the Moon

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The great folk revival gave birth to a multitude of politically committed singers, but few maintain a high profile 40 years later. Tom Paxton, however, is different. Whether singing children's songs or protesting against social ills, he remains committed to a vision of a better world. While Looking for the Moon finds Paxton plowing the same fertile soil, he's become a subtler songwriter over the years, relying on natural imagery instead of the headlines. He also enjoys writing about the simple pleasures of life -- a special someone, a quiet morning, and a sad memory -- and doesn't fall into the same platitudes as a number of singer/songwriters. "Homebound Train" tells the story of a ten-year-old boy who travels to see his ailing father. As the train moves toward home, the boy has a vision of his father waving goodbye and telling him, "It's alright, son, I'm still here." When he arrives home, his father has already died. "Early Snow" is filled with simple, though elegant, descriptions. The darkening skies, westerly winds, and bitter cold also offer apt symbols of yet another small farming town that's seen better days. The album's arrangements are straightforward: acoustic guitar, joined by an occasional harmonica, mandolin, fiddle, and piano, provides spare, tasteful support to Paxton's vocals. While it's tempting to call Looking for the Moon "a mature effort," such a phrase sounds a bit sterile. Nonetheless, Looking for the Moon is a mature effort, a singer/songwriter album for those who have moved beyond broken relationships and identity issues. Fans will embrace it warmly.

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