Singer-songwriter Sam Pinkerton formed Someone Like Tommy earlier this year, applying her unerring pop sensibilities to an ensemble easily classifiable as Americana. Their self-titled debut EP contains five melodic, acoustic-driven songs, all written by Pinkerton. Katie Higdon contributes additional vocals, often singing in close harmony with Pinkerton. The arrangements are simple but consistently inventive with tight, tasteful musicianship.
The group, which also includes bassist Joey Norman and guitarist Dustin King, originally came together for a one-off Battle of the Bands at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. The reaction was positive, leading to a summer of heavy gigging that climaxed with a booking at the Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois.
The galloping “Your Days With Me” leads off the EP with a gorgeous hook declaring “When you left, you took the sun out of the Sunshine State.” Bassist Norman drives the song with conviction, adding a touch of glockenspiel to the chorus. The concluding wordless harmonies are among the sweetest sounds on the record. Beginning as something of a ballad, “Things Could Be Better” finds Pinkerton and Higdon’s vocals shining, both together and separately. Midway through, a propulsive beat kicks in, underscoring the insistent refrain “I can’t breathe without you next to me.”
“Tommy’s Song” paints a portrait of the young man who inspired the band's name, a fellow Southeastern student with whom they were barely acquainted.
I went directly to the source, asking the band members for more information. According to bassist Norman, “Sam came up to us one day and said, ‘I wrote a song for Tommy, because someone should - but I don’t think anyone will.’ It was kind of a running joke in the band.” Higdon adds, “We were like, Sam you’re such a creeper, you just wrote a song about a guy you don’t know.” Elaborating on the issue, Pinkerton remembers sitting in a library for two hours with the other band members, trying to figure out what to call themselves. “We decided on the band name as we were going on stage [for the first time],” she said.