Tom Brosseauâ€™s third full-length for FatCat, Posthumous Success (out June 23rd), marks a huge stylistic shift away from the spare, acoustic arrangements of his previous releases. Unchanged, however, is Brosseauâ€™s earnest wit, near-unearthly emotional grasp, and captivating, vibrato-soaked voice. With Posthumous Success (named after a chapter from a biography of Albert Camus), Brosseau brings his best group of songs into a sonically rich environment, resulting in a buoyant, well-crafted, and sprawlingly lovely album. It is his most accomplished and inviting effort to date.
During the summer and fall of 2008, Brosseau worked with two producers on two opposite coasts and a handful of guest musicians to flesh and clothe his songsâ€™ sturdy skeletons, lending them breath, presence, and limb-stretching immediacy. In New York’s Hudson Valley, he worked with producer Adam Pierce of Mice Parade, who also plays drums on the album, as well as other players including guitarist Rob Laakso (Amazing Baby, Wicked Farleys) and vocalist Jayme Layne. In Portland, Oregon, Tom worked with producer Ethan Rose of Small Sails, and was also joined by vocalist Shelley Short and several of Roseâ€™s bandmates. The resulting songs are embellished, expanded and orchestrated by a confident harmonic structure that naturally extends itself from the smaller scale of Tomâ€™s past works without confining the pure spirit of North American blues that finances the immense emotional impact of his songs.
Posthumous Success finds Brosseau drawing on a wide list of influences â€“ literary, musical, and otherwise â€“ from Hemingway, Georges Bataille, and Flannery Oâ€™Connor, to Bob Dylanâ€™s Time Out Of Mind, to the film soundtracks for The Natural and The Man Who Wasnâ€™t There, to the declining population of Detroit, polar bears and ice caps, and the oil derricks of western North Dakota. This wide-ranging, ambitious list of influences may explain why Brosseauâ€™s lyrics reach an apex of challenge and richness on this new album.
Born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Tom Brosseau now resides in Los Angeles. His dense musical, cultural, and personal histories have helped him create an album of great beauty, stillness, intimacy and celebration. Tom Brosseau will be touring Europe with John Parish and PJ Harvey this spring. He’ll additionally play shows across the U.S. in the coming months.
Tom Brosseau tour dates:
Thu. May 7 — Los Angeles, CA @ Largo at the Coronet w/ Hauschka
Fri. May 8 — Orlando, FL @ The Social w/ Mice Parade
Sat. May 9 — Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theater w/ Mice Paraade
Sun. May 10 — Washington, DC @ Rock n Roll Hotel w/ Mice Parade
Visit http://www.myspace.com/tombrosseau for all upcoming tour dates, including European dates with John Parish and PJ Harvey.
Posthumous Success tracklisting:
01. Favourite Colour Blue
02. Been True
03. Big Time
05. You Don’t Know My Friends
06. New Heights
07. Youth Decay
09. Miss Lucy
10. Axe & Stump
12. Wishbone Medallion
13. Favourite Colour Blue
â€œWhen Tom Brosseau opens his mouth to sing, it becomes immediately clear the stakes are much higher than bird-dogginâ€™ at Starbucks, and that this man is playing for keeps. His music is gentle – and kind of spooky, in a pretty way. â€¦if you listen closely, can you hear the hellhounds on this manâ€™s trail. No wonder he sounds as if he crawled out from the covers of a Harry Smith anthology of American folk music, like a frozen caveman slowly thawing in the hot, hot, heat of the dirty future. Hurry, before he melts.” — Jonathan Valania, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Sometimes when an album ends, and itâ€™s late at night, and your dinner guests have gone home, and thereâ€™s a little bit of red wine left â€” maybe you wish that album hadnâ€™t ended. It was perfect; youâ€™d like to take it outside under the stars and listen to it again by yourself. Singer-songwriter Tom Brosseauâ€™s music often has that effect.” — James Reed, Boston Globe
â€œHis blues-folks songs seem simple and plain, but thereâ€™s a real depth to the lyrics, and theyâ€™re sung in a voice so confident in its smooth, Ricky Nelson-esque purity that it barely needs accompaniment.â€ — Sylvie Simmons, MOJO (4 stars)