Friday, November 1, 2013

Thomas John Cadrin "Play the Room" EP review

I had the pleasure of sharing a bill with Thomas John Cadrin a few months back. He really impressed me with his guitar playing. A strong player, sitting in with a few other folks during the night and playing his own stuff as well. He mentioned his new project to me called “Play the Room”. As with most gigs, you run into people they tell you about their latest recording and it happens so often (for most gigging musicians) you sometimes get in a good listen, and sometimes it takes a while. To my own detriment, it took me until now to really dig into this record, and I am kicking my own ass because it’s a REALLY cool concept executed particularly well. A dude and his guitar in a professional studio room, hit the record button, then release the thing when it’s done. Another one of these things I think all artists should have to do…no crazy overdubbing, there is difficulty to really tune anything up because of potential bleed in the different mics. This is really a “what you get is what you will get live” kind of a situation. Bravo, Mr. Cadrin, bravo.

His sound lays somewhere between folk and rock with a sprinkling of early 2000’s post-punk revival stuff, at least in its commercial appeal and some of this phrasing. While I tend to stray from that type of music, I actually quite like TJC’s tunes and overall sound. Smart arrangements and…again…really fucking great guitar playing, make me enjoy the music a lot. I get nuances of acoustic John Mayer in his playing (don’t hate, Mayer is an incredible guitar player) and his voice is hard for me to pinpoint or compare to something already existing. A good thing indeed.

“Thoughtless Saint” is probably my favorite track. There is some tasty guitar playing in the beginning, TJC’s vocal shines in this one. Not too much, but just enough variety to really keep the listener locked in. In this case, simplicity is the best formula for a good tune. Solo guitar solos can be real hit or miss, and Cadrin’s playing is tasteful but moving and energetic. Great dynamics, range and flow to this track.

Breathe until there's nothing left
strive for depths that have drowned the rest

The guitar playing is solid and on point as I have come to expect from Cadrin. Very cool, versatile and interesting picking patterns (that many guitarists strive for and fail miserably at...Cadrin executes on effortlessly). He has a real strong voice with a great vocal range, moving in and out of falsetto (listen to “Separation Situation”) with ease and effortless style. And man, I just really love the concept. I cannot say that enough. Simple and unpretentious. It’s intimate, raw and real and that is how music should be made.

Listen to Cadrin’s “Play the Room” on his bandcamp page and be sure to check him out live soon…

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