Tom Stevens

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Roots-rock has been done to death this decade, but you'd be hard pressed to find it done harder/better. For starters, Stevens helped instigate its original ‘80s resurgence with L.A.'s Long Ryders, just part of a 31-year recording career dating to 1976's Maji. And Home hits like the best Long Ryders -- think "Still Get By" -- with shades of Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield, 1966 George Harrison, and especially Gene Clark. If anyone knows Clark, it's Stevens, having backed him on bass before the Byrds legend's death in 1991. (Clark also cameo'd with Long Ryders on 1984's Native Sons.) The exuberant Home is 10 parts "So You Say You Lost Your Baby" and ""Elevator Operator" ("Home") and two parts "Why Not Your Baby," the Stones' "Wild Horses," and Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" ("Flying Out of London in the Rain"). Despite playing all instruments in his home basement studio in Indiana (from "Belladonna," he'd clearly tired of Hollyweird values!), there isn't one under-considered, underplayed, or under-written second on his first new album in 12 years. All four Long Ryders reunited for a 2004 tour of the U.K. and Spain, but from this, they couldn't have a better co-headliner than their own bassist.

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