Texas Country .Live

Tom Cheatham

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Still a relative newcomer to the Americana and Texas Music Scene, Tom Cheatham's much-anticipated second release is due in late-summer 2011. Titled Scars That I'll Keep, Tom spent much of 2010 writing the album's original tracks. He stepped into the recording studio in early 2011 with Denton, Texas-based producer Erik Herbst, who boasts a resume of Texas country credits including the Eli Young Band, Rodney Parker and Josh Abbott. Tom is still making music with a crew of talented musicians, including John Rowland (Bass), Jake Mclarry (Drums) and Glenn Wallace (Guitar). Each member, with their own unique musical background has helped to create the sound that is the band today. The band has had a solid three-year run together playing stages throughout the southwest. Their compatibility renders a seamless show that flows from music to banter to spontaneous riffs without skipping a beat. Over the years, they have attracted raucous crowds and devoted fans. Scars That I'll Keep shows a newfound maturity in Tom's style and potentially marks a turning point in the relative newcomer's burgeoning career. He has managed to stay true to his craft, with intelligent and inspiring lyrics, while also redefining his sound. The result is an eclectic but harmonious collection that doesn't strictly belong to the Texas or "Red Dirt" scene, but fits perfectly in the ever broadening genre. Scars is void of the contrived melancholy and geographic cliches that can - on occasion - weary even the most devout of country music fans. It embraces the human struggle with humor, strength, and a rare and genuine insight that proves Tom Cheatham has grown up. Cheatham's sound is a refreshing one in an all too often similar and predictable sounding Texas Music Scene and with this new release people are bound to take note. Since the release of the 2009 Restless Soul, Tom's music has undergone a subtle evolution grown out of experience and confidence. Scars skirts the fence line between the rustic twang that is the foundation of classic country with edgier tones that offer a nod to genres spanning from alternative to classic rock and artist influences ranging from Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones and Texas artist Wade Bowen. That's not to say that Tom has strayed so far from his roots that fans won't recognize the distinctive grit in his voice and the nostalgic, but modern, storytelling infused in his lyrics. He's simply presenting a better version of himself. "I feel I've grown a lot as a songwriter, a performer and as a person over the last few years which has directly contributed to our sound, and all of those elements are reflected in this album," Tom said. Indeed that growth seems to be reflected in the album's story. The title track feels cunningly hopeful even as it reflects on a hard-fought life. "Empty Heart" accepts regret with the wisdom that dreams unfulfilled are easier to swallow than those not fought for in the first place. But perhaps no track better illustrates Tom's artistic wing-spreading than "Angel", a ballad certain to make female fans swoon, but without alienating their male counterparts. Throughout his career, Tom has believed that music is intensely personal. "Music to me, at its best, is honest and real and that's how I approach every song I have ever written. I want to make music that affects people the way music affects me," Tom said. Scars That I'll Keep is sure to affect those that find it. And perhaps even more, it will affect Tom Cheatham's journey through music.