Tom House

Long Time Home from Here

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Tom House's unearthly meld of country, folk, and blues on Long Time Home From Here may give listeners the mistaken impression they're hearing some ancient rural soul who eked out a living in the mines next to Dock Boggs. But Nashville's House is very much of this time and place, though his ungodly warble -- which frequently pitches into trills, gargles, and primitive scatting -- and percussive, acoustic muse would fit comfortably on a collection of early 20th century field recordings. House is not simply a revivalist, however: he's too much the iconoclast to be pinned down to that, and his outright weirdness rings genuine. His is not the calculated, American primitive oddness of a Captain Beefheart or his ilk. There's real heart (and little irony or overt cleverness) in the noise House makes, as well as a disconcerting pull between his non-verbalisms and his strong poetic sensibilities (House started out primarily as a poet). There's also some genuine prettiness here, particularly in the elegiac country-folk of "Judas Song" and "Georgia Queen." "Keep It Boiling" is an uncanny, rhythmic stomp through swamped-out acoustic blues, while the folk chug of the title track is spurred by burning harmonica and House's tomcat yowls. Few Americana artists stake out such distinct terrain (Johnny Dowd comes to mind); House is an utter original and Long Time Home From Here finds him at a creative peak.

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