I recently rediscovered a long lost love. I was sitting in my room on Saturday night. I was dozing off to my Itunes eclectic and paranoid music selection when a bluesy sound permeated the room. I sat up and listened for a second. At first, I couldn't decipher who it was, I simply kept on listening. Once the song finished and my sleep deprived brain proved useless I went to check it out.
It was none else but a 24 year old Tom Waits singing, accompanied by a talented group of blues and jazz musicians. Saxophone, piano and Tom's unequivocally raspy voice filled my room and I wanted more. To be honest, I hadn't listened to Tom in a long time, not for lack of gusto toward his music, but because I was in search of more contemporary music.
I stopped the shuffle play and simply went back to listen to Tom's "The Heart of Saturday Night" album. Released in 1974, it was Tom's second album to date. If it's name wasn't enough indication, I can tell you that the way the album flows from its first song through the last makes you experience, in a very subtle level, the ups and downs of a typical Saturday night. It makes you one with the street while you are not out.
His lyrics have the depth and sentiment of a seasoned pain. They are emphatic, intense, relatable and on point with the melancholic hope of someone who's main purpose is to live and love; to live through the pain and to fight for all things holy -women, alcohol, art, music, and the right to love.
I'm not going to rant and try to overemphasize any point. I just want to give the man what he deserves. That night I grabbed a couple of glasses of Jameson and simply let Tom's band and his bourbon-soaked voice do the talking.
I don't know if many of you feel the way that I do, but to me Tom Waits is one of the last old school artist left. He is up there in a pedestal with the "Bukowskies" of the world, as a man of principle and grittiness. His reluctance to let his music be used for commercial purposes simply solidifies his artistic image and persona.
I am part of Tom's cult followers and I am happy to admit to it. While his success in America can be questionable, his music undoubtedly makes you shiver with agony to bring you back hope. It is an expression of the man and his nature. It's honest, poignant and full of attitude.
Whether you like his music or not, I want to exhort you to listen to some of it. You will likely find something to relate to. My favorite album is the aforementioned "Heart of Saturday night".
I didn't go out on Saturday, but I had a meeting with Tom Waits. He did most of the talking, I simply listened and enjoyed the "heart" of the night.
I want to leave with a question:
If you are a Tom Wait's fan, what's your favorite album or song? If you are not a fan, tell us who makes you stop your night and just listen?