Mister Tom Musick is touched by your concern and consternation, and he appreciates your morbid fascination, but there’s nothing to be done for him now. The bloom is off the rose, the hour late. He’s been licked by the flames of love; he’s been Merloted, Bordeauxed and Shirazzled. The bright dreams of his youth have burned away. And he’s the first to admit that he’s got no gallant horse to ride; no hopes or ropes to fling you.
Just let him be the one to sing you down off the ledge.
Now for the first time, with a winter hiatus approaching in the northern hemisphere, five gorgeous songs by Tom Musick can be heard outside of the bar where they’re regularly performed. By releasing the EP Don’t Mind the Dust on November 30th, Tom and Ronnie hope to tide their fans over during Ronnie’s maternity leave while also reaching out to new listeners who might be interested in their particular flavor of French-inflected extra-noir cabaret.
Watch Tom and Ronnie: www.mistertommusick.com
This collection of truly dark songs about the human condition is somehow welcoming; a central theme is one of accepting of the flaws we all know we have and acknowledging the emotional scars that we carry with us. Don’t Mind the Dust opens with the lush apologia “What Have We Got to Say for Ourselves” (for which director Jim Newberry crafted a music video at Chicago’s Orlandi Statuary), in which Tom invites the listener in despite the bedraggled state of his surroundings, since both he and the listener are clearly in such a bad way. The elegiac “The Blush of Shame” likewise comforts the listener: “The blush of shame for a life misspent/only makes you more beautiful.”
The new EP Don't Mind the Dust was engineered by Neil Strauch at Maestro-Matic Studios, and features gorgeously grayscale album art by Chris Hefner. It’s available for $5 exclusively on Bandcamp as of this Friday, and streams for free at mistertommusick.com.
Once a fortnight at Weegee’s Lounge, the lights dim even more than usual, the spotlight flickers on, and Tom materializes at the end of the bar to serenade the barflies and the regulars with devastating songs of love, in all its doomed, hopeless, and absent varieties. Elevated by the expert piano accompaniment of Ronnie Kuller, who seems to know a thing or two about love herself, Tom’s scratchy baritone transports whoever’s listening to a geographically and chronologically indeterminate space between Chicago, where he’s made his home for decades now, and Paris, where he spent nine years busking while living on a houseboat on the Seine.
By turns tender, bitter, tragic, and droll, Tom’s songs have been known to elicit everything from tears to laughter to wild, reckless waltzing. Lyrically, they observe an almost religious adherence to rhyme, and are sung to melodies that somehow feel immediately familiar. When juxtaposed with Ronnie’s Romantic-era piano stylings, which make extensive use of a rubato that would have gotten her into so much trouble back in her classical days, the result is captivating and impossible to categorize, but harkens back to Jacques Brel and Edith Piaf. At least one marriage has resulted from these performances, and certainly more than one failed love affair has been mourned. And yet the Weegee’s residency has remained something of a secret throughout its several years, whispered from one broken heart to another.
The final residency performance of 2018 is at 9pm on Thursday, November 29th, after which the show will take a winter hiatus during Ronnie’s maternity leave. Tom and Ronnie will return to Weegee’s in the spring, and plan to release a full-length album in early summer.
Links To Tom Musick