THE LISTENING ROOM
Sponsored by East Wisconsin Savings Bank
Tom Thiel, Guitarist, Singer-Songwriter
Tom Thiel is best known for his years as part of the veteran Fox Valley trio, Boxkar. In 2017, Thiel released his first solo album, “Old Shadows,” and brought home a WAMI Award as Singer/Songwriter of the Year. Currently you can find Tom performing with Mudbone (along with Jay Stulo, Rodney Zimmerman, and Spencer Panosh) Sundays 6-9 at Gibson Music Hall, or sitting in with Kurt Gunn’s band. Several cuts off of “Old Shadows" have become favorites in the Avenue’s playlist.
“Usually when someone asks me what my favorite band or album is, my brain just locks up. It’s like the feeling you get when you walk into a record store and are so overwhelmed that you immediately forget what you had come in for. Some people are content listening to the same things they listened to in high school but I’ve always enjoyed finding new things. My ears get bored easily. I think listening to new music enhances your memories by providing an aural point of reference. For me, 1993 was the year of Jellyfish’s Spilt Milk, the fall of 1999 was Filter’s Title of Record, and 2013 was Justin Jones’ Fading Light. It’s so cool to keep adding on to your life’s playlist. Here are a few albums that have made my life’s playlist.
Gregory Alan Isakov Evening Machines – In October, Gregory Alan Isakov released Evening Machines and it’s really grown on me. The songs are so spacious and cinematic and his quiet melancholy voice fits so well over the top. There are subtle hooks in the songs that pull you in over time. There is a really amazing video for the song “San Luis” that was shot at Great Sand Dunes National park during a sandstorm.
“San Luis” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BJ7MDOmLPE
Nicholas Raymond Summer Shoes – Another new favorite is Nicholas Raymond’s Summer Shoes album. The entire album is full of great songwriting. The opening track “This Side” is like a song within a song. I love it! “Lights and Sounds and Colors Collide” is another of my favorites.
Summer Shoes on Bandcamp https://nicholasraymond.bandcamp.com/album/summer-shoes
Pat MacDonald Begging Her Graces – My brother played drums with Pat MacDonald for a little while years ago. They traveled around doing a 2-piece thing and I got to see them a lot. Pat was so particular about his sound and he always sounded amazing. I love Pat’s album Troubadour of Stomp and I listen to it all the time but there is something about “Begging Her Graces.” It’s dark, with some lighter moments, and full of Pat’s cleverly cynical lyrics. “Little Dark Angel” is my wife’s favorite and I would have to go with “Tyranny of Beauty.”
“Little Dark Angel” https://youtu.be/EZXUm1UC0DQ
Shakey Graves Audio Tree Sessions – As a kid there was a lot of music in my house but it was a lot of K-tel Greatest Hits Collections. I was always drawn to the epic classic rock guitar songs from bands like Foghat, Free and Led Zeppelin. I’m still drawn to the guitar and lately I’ve been really into Shakey Graves’ guitar style. It’s blues based, percussive and a little dirty. A great example is either of the Audio Tree Sessions he did in 2013 and 2014. He has a lot of stuff on YouTube and every live version is a little different.
Shakey Graves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD72LbIk02M
Motherfolk – Motherfolk - As far as Mile of Music artists that are in my current playlists, my wife Shawn saw Motherfolk a few years ago and turned me on to them. I really love their stuff and whoever runs their Twitter account is hilarious.