The Grand Rapids singer-songwriter celebrates release of “Tom Hymn’s Tangerine Dream” with an ensemble of musical pals at Fountain Street Church next week. (Story, video)
THE ARTIST: Tom Hymn
THE MUSIC: Indie-rock, folk-trance
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids ($5 at the door)
Tom Hymn unabashedly leans on an army of friends for his music.
The Grand Rapids singer-songwriter’s newest recording project, “Tom Hymn’s Tangerine Dream,” is no exception.
Recorded in a variety of locations with a bevy of musical guests, including “good droog” and producer Jacob Bullard (Major Murphy, Antrim Dells), the album is rife with resplendent sonic qualities and dream-hued lyrics recounting the personal journey of Mr. Hymn, aka Chad Houseman.
His upcoming album-release show Thursday at Fountain Street Church reflects plenty of musical camaraderie, too: The concert will start with a solo acoustic set, followed by a full-band spectacle featuring no fewer than 10 musicians, including Bullard, Brian Voortman (Major Murphy), Aaron Wildey (The Muteflutes), Micah McLaughlin (The Muteflutes), Heather Baker Jackson (The Soil & the Sun), Ben Baker Jackson (The Soil & the Sun), Brian Mulder (Brian Mulder), Brad Fritcher (MOODS), Jacki Warren (The Soil & the Sun) and Jeffrey Niemeier (Fauxgrass).
For Houseman, the follow-up to his 2014 debut album, “Early Magic,” took a lot of turns and treks to come to fruition.
“This record was born out of a dream-long pilgrimage – through the fields of Iowa to the banks of the Mississippi, over the sea to walk across countries, sleeping in dimly lit hostels with new friends from all over the globe,” he recalls, adding that the music surfaced from “spilling your guts with loved ones in city apartments, Internet dating schemes gone awry, driving through the ‘Tobacco Roots’ with your dad, stealing riffs from your favorite bands, searching for some internal release only to be given a different answer, finding yourself grasping and then being reminded to let go.”
He and Bullard started recording the album back in January 2016 in “a loaned carriage house on the shores of Lake Michigan in the dead of winter,” laying down “eerie and weird sounds coming from a lack of sleep and too much Jim Beam.”
Subsequent tracks were recorded in garages, bedroom, parlors and an old church in the summer, capturing the vocals “in a sweaty un-air-conditioned confessional booth” while “hitting ‘record’ only between firework explosions and poltergeist hijinx.”
Not only that, but interspersed amid tracks on the album are field recordings from Houseman’s world travels, everything from “the bells of Albury in England” to “confused Spanish radio signals.”
As for the songs themselves, the singer, guitarist and songwriter says he’s been playing some of them live for two or three years, while others are rarities.
And not surprisingly, he says, “you’ll hear my friends lending their incredible musical talents to each track.”
But on Friday, he previewed a couple of those tracks all alone, performing solo versions of “Certainly So” and “Our Lady of Reminders” in Studio X for Local Spins on WYCE armed with only an electric guitar and an amplifier.
Watch the video for “Our Lady of Reminders” below.
VIDEO: Tom Hymn, “Our Lady of Reminders”
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