TG Elias – The Man in the Iron Cage – Smallokus Records
The second album from the incredibly tall and equally talented TG Elias proves to be as marvellous of his first release “God’s Own Land”. It’s more of the same with Tom delivering his unique music with effortless quality – however the stripped down production on this album reflects better his live show where his excellent guitar work and captivating voice come to the fore. I have remarked to him previously that whilst I loved “God’s Own Land” to bits, I much preferred his live performances where the real emotion in his music is exposed, on this album he has managed to capture the vibrant immediacy of his live work.
As usual the lyrics are superb – clever, funny and full of marvellous imagery. Musically the album centres around acoustic blues and northern folk, with a substantial amount of slide guitar and harp playing to add texture to the sound of the album. The general feel is relaxed and whilst Tom occasionally channels the spirit of early Dylan in some of his delivery this is without doubt English music at its best. The breathy delivery, the shifts between the upper register and an earthy blues feel, make Tom a must listen artist. He has captured the best of musical genres he has brought together to deliver a fine album.
There are ten great tunes, it would be a little unfair to pick any one as the best but I must remark on the wonderfully tongue in cheek “Southbound Otley Highway” which manages to both ape traditionalism and add a degree of mischief in its tale of train journeys, too much Amaretto, and unrequited love. Throughout all of Tom’s songs there is a humorous element which manages to lift them above contemporaries – he is keen observer of human frailty and foibles which he captures in his words and delivery.
You can acquire the album here.