Tobin Sprout: Empty Horses (Fire/Southbound/digital outlets)

 |   |  <1 min read

Tobin Sprout: Empty Horses (Fire/Southbound/digital outlets)

Photo-realist painter Tobin Sprout is perhaps best known for being a key member of Ohio's Guided by Voices alongside Robert Pollard but also ran a solo music career, especially after he left the band for more than a decade in the late Nineties and even when the group re-formed.

Now in his mid-60s, his weary voice suits his chosen idiom of lowkey, downbeat Americana and his painterly, observational eye is all over these 10 songs where a kind of emotional yearning for a lost past is married to lyrics about half-forgotten stories and characters from an older America.

Half-formed stories and ill-defined figures seem to emerge from a dreamy mist, there are allusions to soldiers gone (On Golden Rivers, Antietam named for the Civil War battlefield, the damaged character in the title track, the piano ballad No Shame about a young man advised to flee the battle) and the passage of time (The Man I Used to Know, Every Sweet Soul).

For All in my Sleep where electric guitar comes to the fore he eases towards a measured Neil Young. 

Tobin Sprout is one of those singer-songwriters who, by speaking quietly amidst the noise like Bill Fay, gains your attention.

This album is available through Southbound Records in Auckland (here) or can be heard on Spotify here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Patti Smith, Dream of Life DVD (Arthouse/Madman)

Patti Smith, Dream of Life DVD (Arthouse/Madman)

Few, if any, musicians have been as self-mythologising as Patti Smith, she has written her story with capitals: New Jersey, Piss Factory, New York, Mapplethorpe, William Burroughs, Keith Richards,... > Read more

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (EMI)

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (EMI)

After years -- nay, decades -- of his indifferent albums it was real pleasure to post Van Morrison's excellent, understated Keep It Simple last year and then later pick it as one of the Best of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP releases, in... > Read more

BOB MARLEY; RASTAMAN VIBRATION RECONSIDERED: The legacy is music and the message

BOB MARLEY; RASTAMAN VIBRATION RECONSIDERED: The legacy is music and the message

The bassist with Hamilton reggae band Katchafire, Ara Adams-Tamatea, said it: "You go to parties now and they are still playing the same '70s Bob albums 20 and 30 years later. Why is that?... > Read more