“The measure of one’s humanity,” says veteran singer, songwriter, and guitarist Bill Toms, “is the ability to understand the trials and tribulations of others.” It’s a capacity that’s never been more needed than it has over the past year. Today we’re proud to premiere “Walk in My Shoes” from Bill Toms & Hard Rain’s new album Keep Movin’ On, out April 26. It’s a track, Toms says, that “will rock the humanity right smack in your soul.”
Produced by Rick Witkowski and hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “beautiful message of healing and hope,” the album was recorded remotely during 2020 – the first such recording of Toms’ long career. But it sounds tight as anything, with major contributions from The Soulville Horns and instrumentalist/producer Will Kimbrough. Says Toms, “The band never were all together in the same building. I recorded most guitars at home,” and the other players tracked their parts on their own too, from locations ranging from Nashville to Italy.
The musicians had played together so much over the years that even when isolated they were able to create a seamless blend of the band’s trademark rock, soul, and rhythm & blues. “We could embrace it,” Toms says, and “build like a quilt” the overall musical scope of his new songs.
The initial track from Keep Movin’ On, “Man’s Soul Is on Trial,” was released in October 2020 ahead of the presidential election, a perfect exemplar of Toms’ message of unity over division. With “Walk in My Shoes” he drives the message even deeper:
“I can see that you never felt the struggles that I have…
[But] everybody finds some hard luck, some day you’ll find it too
And then the moment comes when you know what’s like to walk in my shoes.”
Keep Movin’ On is out on 26 April 2021 on Terraplane Records.