Adam Hook – Soaked in Sound

“… His voice, laced with the earth he walks upon, drives the album; sculpting each track into a gritty representation of a life well lived …”

Tom VandenAvond walks a path blazed by songwriting pioneers before him. He travels from town to town playing for audiences that may not know who he is at the beginning of the night, but leave fans once the last chord is strummed. “Wreck of a Fine Man” is covered in the dust from the long days spent on the road with his guitar and dog as his only companions. Tom lives what he writes and the latest release solidifies this fact. If you haven’t heard Tom VandenAvond before, think of an updated Woody Guthrie, traveling the country playing music and leaving wonderment in his wake.

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Trigger – Saving Country Music

“… Tom VandenAvond is one of these wheel guys … everything seems to revolve around them. They are the trunk from which so much other music grows …”

VandenAvond is a pure songwriter. As much as people love to babble on about how songwriting is such a noble art and pat their favorite artists on the back for being so great at it, few delve into the inner workings of the craft like Tom VandenAvond. Comparisons are made to Dylan because of VandenAvond’s voice. Artists comparisons are rarely fair to either side, yet this one is understandable because just like Dylan, VandenAvond is a writer that sings, not a singer that writes. … The title track for this album I truly believe is one of the best songs so far this year — rising to that level from the combination of excellent lyricism and structure from VandenAvond, and the gorgeous harmonic sighs and ascending string lines in the chorus that create a musical mood unmatched.

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Trigger – The Story Behind Tom VandenAvond’s Wreck of a Fine Man

“… ‘Wreck Of A Fine Man’ seemed to be the best salve for the old soul struggling with the short-sightedness of today’s society …”

“I was sitting around one afternoon, and I think I took a nap or something, but I was thinking about Hank Williams and if he was still alive.” Tom explained to me before his set at the Cattlemen’s Saloon in the small town of Rogue River, Oregon last Wednesday. “I think I actually had a dream that he was still alive, and I was kind of thinking about what his life would be like, if people would accept him today. I pictured him living outside of Nashville a little bit, out in the woods you know, kind of keeping to himself. So that was a big inspiration for that song.”

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Mike Morrison – American Roots UK

“…Tom Vandenavond is one of the most talented singer songwriters of this twenty first century and probably has a lot in common with the great John Prine at his very best…”

The tremendous songs are well written and all tell evocative tales, with Tom’s melodically rasping vocals being perfect for getting every little nuance out of the songs. The varied instrumentation and arrangements cannot be faulted nor can the tremendous melodies or the playing, all adding up to an album that in my house and car is never out of the stereo. This is his second consecutive album on which the backing band has been that tremendous roots outfit ‘Larry and his Flask.’ Such is the esteem in which this hugely talented musician is held that the band manage to restrain their usual ebullient selves in favour of supporting these excellent ‘story’ songs.

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James Carlson: Philadelphia Indie Music

“… more like bonfire shindigs with good pals, beautiful women, fiery gulps of Mason jar moonshine, and deep pulls on roll-your-own cigarettes… “

Like a piece of depreciated real estate, no one wants to live anywhere within close proximity to modern country music anymore, save for a few brave souls scattered about the globe who have dedicated themselves to rescuing the genre. One of those brave souls is singer/songwriter Tom VandenAvond, whose latest release on Hillgrass Bluebilly Records “You Oughta Know Me By Now” proves just how far he’s willing to go to do his part for country and other roots-related forms of music. This soft-spoken, cool-mannered, scruffy-faced Texan is all trucker caps and flannel shirts, and his songs somehow sound the way he looks.

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