Criminal Man opens with Tolchin's sunny plucking on "Without a Sound," complemented by MorganEve Swain's cello and trademark haunting harmonies. Swain and Brown Bird partner David Lamb chip in on "Godforsaken World," an apocalyptic tale about addicts, crooked cops, and a shortage of clean water, and "Mr. Devil," where Tolchin declares, "If you let me I will jump into your arms/but just know I am a burden full of charms." He wraps his front porch drawl around the line "I ain't here to sit on a conveyor belt towards the jaws of some death machine" on "Cold, Dark, American Dreams," while "Unless We Change" ("the song of hope on this record," Tolchin noted) coasts at a pretty gallop, with TLA's Knox-Miller on harmonies and Jeff Prystowksy on upright bass. "Oval Room" is a Blaze Foley cover from the '80s originally aimed at the Reagan administration; Tolchin's entire crew chimes in on harmonies here. And his nasal crooning hits the spot on the title track, sleepily delivering lines atop a pump organ: "Well this ain't a sad song, boy, this is my life/And I live for the sin, the struggle, the strife."
While Tolchin has previously toured solo, he recently started playing with a full band ("Upright bass, banjo, pump organ, mandolin, and sometimes fiddle") and will hit the road this summer, with bluegrass festival appearances lined up as far as Mississippi and a Daytrotter recording session in Rockford, Illinois. As for the big upcoming show at Lily Pads, Tolchin excitedly declared, "There will most definitely be special guests joining me onstage."
JONAH TOLCHIN + ALLYSEN CALLERY + HAUNT THE HOUSE + DAN BLAKESLEE + more | Friday, June 8 @ 8 pm | Lily Pads, 27 North Road, Peace Dale | jonahtolchin.com
: Music Features
, New Hampshire, Bluegrass, Allysen Callery, More