February 18, 2014
by Tjeerd van Erve
Over the course of two albums, Tommy Ebben has proven himself a folk blues beast. Southern rock, blues and country formed a firm basis below both Dreamless Slumbers and A Whisper To Arms, bringing me and fellow music scribes to comparisons with Drive-By Truckers, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. But apparently the young singer-songwriter has some soul and electronics in him as well, as the third official release (fourth, counting his self released Old Masters Painted These Moments) sees him outgrow the term roots rock in to a more sophisticated mix of all terms mentioned above.
Of course comparisons pop up as well. Mainly the solo work of Greg Dulli with his The Twilight Singers and 1965 and Black Love the last two records of The Afghan Whigs keep springing to mind (*yawn* for comparisons, sorry). But all of this with a wider streak of folk in the basis, more detailed work in the electronics and a lighter shade of soul, ergo:the strong and distinguishable tone of Tommy Ebben.
It’s not the sound that makes Tommy Ebben the great singer-songwriter he is. No matter what the production, it is his ability to write stirring and compelling stories in the form of small pop songs that matter. Even if Tommy Ebben would now decide to make a noisy punk record or step into blackened doom metal he’d be thriving, endearing (ok, that might be a bit pushing it, but I guess you catch the drift). Unlike so many others (I just wanna milkshake? Really? Come on…., Realllllly?1?1?) Tommy’s got a tale to tell, and does so in an entailing way.