Tommy Elskes

Bohemia

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Journeyman musician Tommy Elskes sounds like a roadhouse veteran on his second album, Bohemia. Singing in a thick, husky baritone occasionally reminiscent of Gregg Allman and Bob Seger (and more frequently similar to Darius Rucker), he evokes the American Southwest, especially Texas and Louisiana, describing the lives of late-night characters who inhabit honky tonks, rodeos, and deserted boulevards. His music is bluesy, guitar-based rock, music that sounds like it's being played in the smoky bars where the songs are sometimes set. But the approach also works for some unlikely covers, including the 1960s chestnut "Walk Away Renée" and even Elton John's "Madman Across the Water." Elskes doesn't record much - this is only his second album, following his first by seven or eight years - and he is more a performer than a writer. But Bohemia makes an excellent calling card for his live show and could help him graduate from those bars to better paying gigs.

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