Friday, December 01, 2006

New Editor's Audio Pick: Tom Waits' Orphans

This is not your average Tom Waits CD. This isn't even your average Tom Waits 3 CDs. This is something that stretches beyond a simple musical release, even for this notorious bender of the status-quo.

A bit about the man, and the music itself: As a Singer, composer and actor, Tom Waits is something of a rennaissance man of stage and screen. His distinctive voice, described by one critic as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months and then taken outside and run over with a car," is the cornerstone of his musical persona. His lyrics, which characteristically describe seedy and strange people and places, also delves into some of the most heartfelt ballads in modern music. He is a cult hero in all that he does, and yet for some reason "what he does" is always growing more and more incredible.

Now, this release, a 3 CD set featuring an assortment of cover songs, over 30 original compositions, and even a few tracks recorded in the garage with his kids, the listener is given a new and wonderful way to look at this man and his music. Peppered with jokes, stories and experiments, you almost become intimately aware of who this person really is under all the mystique. You learn him more than any previous release he has so generously given his waiting fans. And that is what makes it so wonderful, and so unlike anything else we've seen so far from him or any one else. It's not a recording of music, strategically (and beautifully, as in this case) packaged for mass consumption. It's more like sitting down over a glass of that same bourboun he's been marinating his voice in and trading stories.

It is, in a word, inspiring.

Tom Waits: Orphans
More Audio Picks from our Editors

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