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Tom Gillam

Never Look Baack – 2007 (Treehouse)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Tom Gillam

Back from the dead. It's not that Tom Gillam hasn't released an album in a long time; he put out the well-received "Shake My Hand" just in 2005. No, the Philly-based musician says he actually died March 20, 2006, after suffering 3 heart attacks. But Gillam miraculously survived, recuperated and quickly returned to the studio to record this.

Regardless of music, Gillam is to be admired for his determination (and good fortune), but his eclectic new disc also deserves praise. Backed by an excellent band, the friends-since-high-school Tractor Pull, Gillam touches on country, classic rock and pop for a hardy but accessible sound. An album highlight and simply a damn cool song, "Where is Bobby Gentry?", complete with a spooky string arrangement by jazz pianist Dave Falciani, slides along on a subtle groove. The radio-ready "Rainbow Girl" and bluesy reflection of "Carolina" showcase Gillam's versatility, and guitarist Craig Simon's two contributions, the title track and especially "To Hell With It All," are both knockouts. Give Gillam a good welcome back.