Young Mans Blues
Ian Thomas's debut album is a 'fast, focused, forward-looking' powerhouse of acoustic blues from one of the most honest and engaging undiscovered singer-songwriters of our time. After traveling the country for years with a guitar and a knapsack strapped to his back, Ian Thomas gave up the wandering life and settled into New York City, busking for cash and living out of a beaten-up 1977 Toyota Corolla. It is this unusual life story that forms the backdrop of 'A Young Man's Blues', an album that is as mired in the confusion and paranoia of the modern world as it is rooted in traditional American folk and blues. While the album invokes the likes of Bob Dylan, Son House, and Townes Van Zandt, in the words of reviewer Neal Block, '... Thomas's voice and vision are surely his own.' Ian Thomas, 'A Young Man's Blues' reviewed by Seven Days Guitar-toting folkie Ian Thomas may reside in New York City, but his sound bypasses the concrete jungle for the deep rural territories of acoustic blues. For a youngster, Thomas has an astonishing command of his sound; this is timeless material expertly performed. Though each of the 12 tracks on 'A Young Man's Blues' wakes memories of long-forgotten standards, they are all originals. Thomas effortlessly bounces through jaunty rags, crying ballads and gentle folk, treating each style with casual reverence. Many of the album's cuts are Dylanesque, but Thomas never seems to be copying the Minnesota marvel. Instead, their similarities arise from a common way of viewing the American music canon. The title track opens the disc amidst a flurry of plucked notes and passionate vocals. 'Homey, Can I Count On You,' on the other hand, is a sunny rag that swings with an irrepressible pop flair. Elsewhere, Thomas delves into gut-wrenching poetics and rousing raves, each with the same charming result.