Tom Paxton's latest studio album Looking for the Moon is no big surprise to anyone familiar with his songs and the music he's been sharing with us for four decades now. In the best tradition of bards like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, he has his ear at the heart of the people and his eyes watch out for details in their lives. Paxton puts those details in lyrics that can move you to tears, give you a warm comfortable feeling of shared experiences or have you burst out with laughter. His songs have become classics and many of the older ones are still relevant today. They have been covered by countless other artists in their particular styles, but, still the fingerprint is Tom's.
You can count on Tom to tackle any issue or event. While on his live albums, Politics and For The Record for example, satirical comments about politicians, yuppiedom or the "joys" of getting older stand side by side with anti- war songs new and old, Looking for the Moon has a mature and tender feeling to it. Whether he's riding on a train towards New York City and letting his mind wander in the country side or describing small town life in Montana, there are comments about social changes that are not always for the better, pointed out without anger. He describes the pain of a ten-year-old losing his dad, sings about a river (most likely the Hudson) and the scenery it flows through using it as a metaphor for the constant change in life. Content love songs spring from the experience of a long lasting and happy family relationship. Tom writes about the World Trade Center tragedy (written 9-24-01) from perspective of one person who made it out safely because of the help of the firefighters who ran up the stairs while he and others ran down and outside. Very touching!
The music is essential Tom Paxton as well, easy going melodies that sound familiar by the second chorus and make you want hum along. The production is pure acoustic backed by fine musicians. Styles range from Bluegrass to Country and Folk. Anne Hills and Nanci Griffith add their harmonies to some of the songs.
The booklet contains all the lyrics, musicians' info and a few photos of Tom and some fellow musicians.
Let's hope that Tom keeps up his good work of recording and entertaining folks at concerts for a long time to come.
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