What do I, a non American, know about Boston? It’s in Massachusetts, right? There are some very tall buildings next to some very short, pretty, older ones, yes? The trees are spectacularly colourful in autumn/fall, I’ve been told and wasn’t Bunker Hill near there?
Also back in the 70s our own Alex Harvey had a single called “Boston Tea Party.” Next add the words Legal, Red Sox, New England, and Globe and that’s about it, I’m afraid.
Two things I do know, however, is that I very much want to visit it. The other is that there is an amazing alternative folk scene developing there. It is the latter that I now turn to as I have just spent a colourful morning in the company of Tom Thumb by listening to his new album We Never Die.
In 2008 Boston’s Andy Arch (alias Tom Thumb) released an album called The Taxidermist. It created something of a stir, and helped bring the city’s fascinating, vibrant, modern folk movement to the fore. It goes deeper than that, of course, and he gives his beautifully crafted sound a gentle easy twist by stamping his own style on it.
The result is as refreshing as a peach on a dry day, and as delicate as the aforementioned leaves in the fall. It sits somewhere between a nostalgia set within the roots of Americana folk, and yet is successfully given a smooth, flowing modern, degree of thirst quenching originality.
There is just the vaguest touch of Roy Harper in his vocals of We Never Die’s opening tracks, the folk flavoured “Olivia”, the fragile innocence of “Wolf’s Breath”, and the joyous undercurrent of “Cabin Building.” That’s what I heard anyway, but I suspect that a room full of suitably chilled people will individually pick out their own hooks on which to hang Mr. Thumb’s sound.