Artist: Tommy Talton
Album: Somewhere South Of Eden
Label: Self Released
Release Date: 03/17/2017
When you write lyrics like “The hands on the clock seem to knock at your door with a message you’ve fallen from grace,” you get Duane Allman banging at your door. Tommy Talton wrote that exquisite phrase for the title song to his new Somewhere South of Eden.
Talton began penning clever songs over 45 years ago as the co-leader of Cowboy, the multi-faceted, country-tinged quintet that Allman really did bang on the door to the house of, demanding at the crack of dawn to hear them play. Impressed, Allman helped get Cowboy signed to Capricorn Records, the venerable institute of Southern Rock. Talton’s become steadily stronger at his craft ever since. Eden plays like a verdant journal of lives intertwined, personal and grand, all expressed from the perspective of a Southern gentleman. Plus, he conveys the wide musical variety in an impressively spry singing voice. Right off in “I Can’t Believe It (I’m Going Home),” a pure, soulful joy ensues about the realization that after all is said and done, bonds between people are what matter most. Then, a bluesy lilt underscores “Hard Situation,” the sweet accordion by guest Steve Conn lightening the feeling of desperate loneliness we all feel on occasion.
Talton’s also an excellent guitarist, and his sweet, bluesy licks call to mind those of his departed friend, the Marshall Tucker Band’s stunning Toy Caldwell. Talton also speaks his mind through words and great guitar in the topical, universally pleading “We Are Calling.” “Don’t Go Away Sore” rides an old-timey mountain beat, and “I Surrender”—the only song co-written on the album, with none other than Alabama Swamper Spooner Oldham— hangs dreamily in the profound heat of the moment. Both songs ponder undying love with beautiful gifts of words. Placed as an interlude, the Latin-spiced, shakin’ “Poblano” features Chuck Leavell rolling on piano, as fine a musician as there is to jazz up that kind of an instrumental run. Among the many elite guests, drummer Bryan Owings and bassist Chris Donohue hold down the rhythms on this exceptional, deeply enjoyable album of real songs.