January 28, 2024

Tom Heyman is an American singer songwriter now based in San Francisco and he is another of those well-worn and life weary musicians who like to take a step off the beaten track so that they can stand and watch the interactions of those passing by and the way they live their lives in this crazy and always chaotic modern world we all inhabit but nearly always fail to understand. Heyman’s style and delivery screams Americana from the very heights and if you are into roots with clever, incisive lyrics that cut to the quick then he is a musician that you need in your life let alone your record collection!

24th Street Blues is his sixth album in a career spanning 25-years which has seen him work as a solo artist but he has also been a much sought after session musician with his guitar and wonderfully sublime pedal steel highly prized in the industry. Apparently, he actually lives on 24th Street which is at the centre of San Francisco’s Mission District and is an ideal location for people watching and Heyman has taken it as his inspiration to write and perform a sort of concept work about the lives of those living in the area and is a bitter-sweet reflection of the joys and troubles of everyday existence. It sounds bleak and dreary but this is far from the truth and what we have here is a delightful and well-crafted slice of American roots and quite possibly an allegory to a way of life that is disappearing before our very eyes.

Heyman has a perfect delivery that is full of emotion and warmth that can be at odds with the more difficult subjects he introduces but he is that rare and special, infectious singer songwriter you need to journey with making his works a true rite of passage that will make you a more and insightful person. If you love pedal steel allied with a rich, full voice and music delivered with a delightful, introspective touch then 24th Street Blues will blow you away. Heyman is backed by a team of musicians who have fully bought into the project and their backing is sumptuous and refined allowing Heyman to weave his tales of hope, delight and despair.

This is very much a roots album which draws on influences or music grown out of artists like Dylan, JJ Cale, B J Cole and even people like Ry Cooder, Simon & Garfunkel and CSNY without even mentioning the Man In Black himself. Tom Heyman very much has his finger on the pulse of real America and if you want to know that roots is very much alive and truly growing and developing onwards from the greats of yesteryear then pick up any album by Tom Heyman and others like Amigo The Devil to show the future is in safe hands.

There is also available a 60-page songbook featuring the music and lyrics as well as paintings and drawings inspired by the music which have been drawn by Heyman’s wife Deidre White and is a joy to behold. Roots and American may not be your thing but have a listen and it could quite easily change your life.

24th Street Blues

  1. 24th Street Blues (4:09)
  2. Desperate (3:14)
  3. Barbara Jean (3:13)
  4. Sonny Jim (4:13)
  5. Hidden History (3:43)
  6. The Mission Is On Fire (3:57)
  7. Quit Pretending (3:14)
  8. Like A Lion (3:26)
  9. Searching For The Holy Ghost (2:41)
  10. White Econoline (4:52)
  11. That Tender Touch (4:05)
  12. Desperate (Redux) (4:09)