Read the Avvenire review of Thom Chacon’s new album “Blood In The USA”below. For the original Italian version click here.
Born in California but now in Colorado, of Mexican-Lebanese origins, Thom Chacon is one of the new voices of the most traditional American songwriters in the sound and in content. Chacon was formed listening to Glen Cambell and Kris Kristofferson, as well as watering the values transmitted in blood from John Ford films: now, after making his debut in 2004 in Folsom following the footsteps of the other legend Johnny Cash and breaking a silence of a luster, the artist publishes an album kept in the drawer for two years, from the sounds to say the least essential (they only play in four, including him and the bass / drums of Dylan records) and content but with disruptive and tragic actuality.
On the other hand, the album is entitled “Blood in the USA”, which Chacon does not like to grant any rhetoric and is certainly not the manufacturer of sweetening songs: in the nine pieces of the cd it emerges clearly and emotionally. The embrace is the sore songwriting of I am an immigrant: “I am an immigrant from Mexico, I died of hunger in the desert, they beat me like a dog, now I collect grapes, I sleep on the ground and I bathe in the streams: now I walk in the shadows wherever I go, I am an immigrant from Mexico”. And all the CD is then travel in the troublesome problems of an America far from the ideals of the founding fathers and those of John Ford, with protagonists-anti-heroes who are the last, the weakest, those that the company does not know or wants to help: miners without more work in Union Town, a sort of Spoon River in Easy Heart, farmers exhausted by drought in Empty Pockets, lives consumed by fatigue between blast furnaces and assembly lines in Work at Hand.
In the music of Thom Chacon, between muscular blues and eco spirtiual, faintly dancing ballads and rough sounds in direct, melodic openings of merit inside a cross between folk and country, are updated again to today’s cornerstones of the seven author’s notes USA: the dry storytelling of Pete Seeger, the poetic inspiration of Bob Dylan, the lash of Bruce Springsteen’s contemporary civil commitment. All sung with Tom Waits’ timbre, plus with an ability to tell the dissonant making poetry that was typical of the late Jackie Leven, not an American noble father of the poetic singer-songwriter. One could also mention the most successful pieces, now: the very short, caustic and sharp Union Town; the touching secular prayer Empty Pockets; the idealist, controversy and politics Blood in the USA aimed at the desperate recovery of an America in which the dream can be repeatable to anyone; the suspended artist autobiography, imbued with life and squalor lived, A Bottle Two Guitars and a Suitcase. But the final Big as the Moon, in which Chacon redeems all the suffering evoked them in a majestic and measured song of love and sharing as inhical possible salvations, is the song that shows the uniqueness of this frontier songwriter who is conquering the USA. Chacon does not put a word more than necessary, no note of his is lure to sterile emotions and so his CD, certainly necessary for the United States, is ultimately very useful to each of us, citizens of the world.
Andrea Pedrinelli | Avvenire | March 16, 2018