Tom Lillo has put together a winning team of musicians for his debut album, Blue Eyed Mystic. His voice has the range and depth of Brian Wilson. He also has an Americana magnetism in his voice that falls into a John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen vein. The contagious lyrics that flow from his pen quickly capture the listener. His songs are not ballads, but more of an emotional awakening experience, allowing the listener to virtually examine Lillo's very soul. When an artist opens up the way Lillo does, it makes it very easy for the listener to rapidly become familiar and comfortable with the artist. These elements allow the listener to become totally engrossed in each composition, letting the fluidity of the vocals and accompaniment bathe the listener with a unique aura. With the opening track, "I Found Love," one is taken in by the familiar rock groove bound by superb guitar and an expertly precise rhythm section. Lillo's soulful vocal presentation is the primary focal point, while the infectious melody allows one to sing along after a couple of spins of the disc. Somehow, as one listens to Lillo express how he has found love, one begins to get a shared feeling of enjoying the experience of love through his vision. Other standout tracks on the album are "I Think It's Love," with a pure rock groove and a Beatlesque quality in the vocal presentation, "Dead Man's Clothes," which falls within an Eagles vein with its mellow groove, expertly crafted harmony vocals, and a Joe Walsh-esque guitar quality, and "The Man I Thought I Was," an exploration into the bluesy side of Lillo's repetoire blended with Booker T. Jones-esque B-3 organ layering the background. Whichever song one chooses to explore on Blue Eyed Mystic, there is one thing that is certain: The song will be perfect in performance and recording quality. But the element that is sure to keep the listener coming back time and time again to the album is the comforting quality found in each song. It's like slipping on those faded favorite jeans with road-worn boots and a cool summer breeze blowing through one's hair, and thinking that it doesn't get much better than strolling with that Blue Eyed Mystic.
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AllMusic Review by Larry Belanger