Written by Priscilla Tasker
At only 22 years old, one knows Tom Evanchuck could not have lived all the tales he sings, but he tells them better than most ever could. He’s drawn from the greatest storytellers of eras gone by, the music of our mothers’ and fathers’ time, and the tunes their parents tapped to before that. The air of an ageless soul flows in his music and strikes a listener still.
Better known as an acoustic folk artist around the Greater Cleveland area, Evanchuck is reshaping the mold with his first electric record, Tom Evanchuck is back as The Evanchucks, and still holding true to the sound that has captured fans — not only from the local scene, but beyond Ohio’s state line — with the simultaneous release of his third acoustic album, Fadin’ Glow.
In Evanchuck’s traditional fashion, Fadin’ Glow is a patchwork of stories sung over an undulating acoustic guitar. But breaking away from the mirthful melodies heard on Tom, Fadin’ Glow is a collection of somber chanties. While the record starts with “Sunshine,” an upbeat rockabilly jive with an optimistic message about taking life as it rolls, the record’s title song is a brief, lonesome ballad encapsulating the silent moments of a heart aching in hope. Leah McCoy’s innocently sweet vocals complement the depth of Evanchuck’s own on the song “Fadin’ Glow,” as well as several other tracks featured on the album including “Glory,” a matrimonial love duet with the potential to steal the hearts of brides across the country picking out their perfect wedding songs.
Evanchuck said his writing for this album was more personal than his previous work. “All My Friends” is true down to the very last verse, he said. In the song, he candidly expresses his sentiment regarding his brother’s departure to the Navy, warbling, “They call it a tin can, for a grown man, the office of the sea. I say, those thievens stole my brother, and it’s a while ‘til he’s free.”
“The development of my writing has gone from strictly wanting to write story songs to more personal writing. It’s matured in many ways,” Evanchuck said.
However, his broad stock of songs is evidence that Evanchuck is a storyteller at the core. Fadin’ Glow’s third track “Everett” is a brazen western-style fable that tells the tale of an unscrupulous character who steals the life of another man and makes it his own only to be caught.
“My mind is somewhat of a scary place,” Evanchuck laughed.
The record ends with the low-tumbling strain “Somebody’s Got To,” a prelude to the electric release.
Tom Evanchuck is back as The Evanchucks
Tom Evanchuck is back as The Evanchucks picks up where Fadin’ Glow left off, with a charged reprise of “Somebody’s Got To.” The electric-infused record signals Evanchuck’s crossover from humble folk singer to bonafide rock musician. The album is an ode to Americana. Hints of blues and gospel permeate through distorted guitar riffs, going back to the roots of rock ‘n’ roll.
“Take Me Back” is a carefree anthem one-way bound to make you want to forget responsibility and hit the open road. Drummer Anthony Evanchuck kickstarts the song with a Texas shuffle rat-a-tat that drives the energy of the roving guitar over Patrick Jenkin’s gravel bass line and straight on through Will Nolan’s wild organ interludes.
The band switches up the tempo on “Long, Long Ohio,” a steady-building tribute to the unchanging comfort of home peppered with simple, percussive tambourine taps beneath melodic guitar murmurs.
“I love Otis Redding, Ray Charles, and Lightning Hopkins — that old bluesy sound mixed with Motown. Basically, if I could sing like an old black man, I would,” Evanchuck said of his inspiration for both the electric and acoustic releases.
Dwelling on the fight to surrender to lover’s adoration, Evanchuck feigns the fervor of Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind” as he cries out for “Peace of Mind” on the aptly titled blues, doo-wop tune. The song, he said, is “basically telling the girl, she knows and you know — so just give in. Find that peace of mind.”
The good-time spirit of Tom Evanchuck is back as The Evanchucks makes it a fitting summer soundtrack. With the collaboration of talented musicians backing Evanchuck on this album, his newfound sound ascends to a class of music lost in your parents’ record collections.
Fadin’ Glow and Tom Evanchuck is back as The Evanchucks were both recorded by Division Sound and are available on iTunes and Amazon. The three-song EP, Nebby Thomas and Zrenner Lewis, which Evanchuck recorded with Bad Racket Recording Studios and launched in advance of the dual release, is available on CDBaby and Amazon.
Editor’s note: For an optimal listening experience, begin with Nebby Thomas and Zrenner Lewis, follow with Fadin’ Glow and end with Tom Evanchuck is back as The Evanchucks.
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