Tom MacLear’s ‘Gods & Ghosts’ on MEG Records offers introspective alt-country vibe

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Review by Roxanne Rubell

Tom MacLear’s newest release, Gods & Ghosts is like sonic salve for the soul.

With its country/rock/folk-influenced sound, listening to this record puts you in a good place while also cajoling contemplation and questioning about life and the world we live in.

Given that MacLear has spent the last 30 years writing, recording and touring with some of the best in the business, it’s no surprise that his mastery of the slide, bottleneck slide and lap steel guitar is richly showcased here as is his ability to finely craft and curate lyrics.

The title track “Gods & Ghosts” is a showdown at MacLear’s corral where he takes a swing at the music business and its lack of regard for true talent at the hands of “self-appointed gods who take what once was free and sell us back our freedom like it was theirs to give or keep.”

On “County Prison Blues,” a twangy slide guitar begs you to get up and dance while the rebel rousing lyrics in “Purple Sky” put you right in the driver’s seat of a “…’48 Packard borrowed from my ex old lady’s wife.”

MacLear surprises with a unique interpretation of Bobby Darin’s “The Simple Song of Freedom” which includes a steel string guitar intro, a chorus of backup singers and intermittent use of the pedal steel. “Dreams of Her” captures the longing and loneliness that serve as replacement bedfellows when a lover is gone.

The single off the album is “That Wonderful Love” and is MacLear’s ode to finding hope in the world during these tumultuous times.

With its upbeat and introspective alt-country vibe you’ll be glad you took the time to listen to Gods & Ghosts and will rejoice that you discovered the music of Tom MacLear.

Visit Maclear.net for more information. Tom Maclear will be performing Thursday, May 25th, 8pm, at E Spot Lounge, above Vitello’s Italian Restaurant, located at 4349 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City. Tickets are $10 and available at VitellosRestaurant.com.   

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