Sunday, August 21, 2005


So, you think Tom Waits is unique? Turns out he isn't.
Some quotes to prove it:

Jamie Barnes purposely toughens up his sound by layering junkyard percussion, toy keyboards and Muppet banjo. The effect answers the previously unasked question, "What would John Denver have sounded like if he had followed Tom Waits' career path?"
(The Courier Journal)

It was at home on the couch that Keith (Richards) penned "This Place is Empty " [without you], a fine country-style ballad from the new album that he croons raggedly à la Tom Waits.
(The Independent Online)

Johnny Dowd: Quirky doesn't even begin to describe this local master of dark, roots-based music. Tom Waits is the closest comparison point, though they work in differently twisted worlds.
(14850 Magazine)

The Cribs raise the bar with witty sarcasm -- lampooning overly self-conscious punk rock denizens and late night tokers -- and surprisingly charming detours into softer sounds, like when they bust out an accordion and keys on the Tom Waits-meets-Randy Newman shuffle of "It Was Only Love."

Truth be told, most of the tracks off his (Ridley Bent) debut disc Blam already read like a cross between Tom Waits, Raymond Chandler and Raymond Carver.
(Calgary Sun)

Spottiswoode and His Enemies sounds like a group that has a taste for the best hipster rock of the 1970s and '80s. "Building a Road," the New York group's current CD, suggests Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Elvis Costello with downtown horns and cabaret piano.
(Star Tribune)

Tom Heinl is on to something. The music sounds like Nashville circa Robert Altman, but with lyrics that Tom Waits would adore.

His (Jeremy "Bug" Young) biggest writing influence is Shakespeare. His modern musical influences are Bob Dylan and Tom Waits.
(Southcoast today)


Anonymous said...

On the same subject I'd give an honourable mention for Buck '65's 2003 album, 'Talkin' Honky Blues'. 2004 saw a competition between this and 'Real Gone' for my most played CD.

Anonymous said...

Waits is unique, the others you mention are the un-unique ones. They seem to be mimicking Waits, not the other way around. To reference Waits as an influence indicates he is the unique one.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I've read thousands of articles like that. Journalists are lazy, they draw quick comparisons instead of doing their job. For male singers, when it's a little weird or a little "roots", they say "Tom Waits". For female singers, it's PJ Harvey.

Now when the artists quote Waits as an influence themselves, can't blame them. It just means they have good taste. Some of them are even good.

Anonymous said...

Of course Tom Waits isn't unique, in that there are a lot of artists (like the ones mentioned here) who have drawn a lot of inspiration from him. He is, however, very original. Subtle but important difference.

I do agree though, that this kind of comparison is made way too often. I have heard artists compared to Waits simply because their voice is husky, but who have no musical connection to him. On the other hand, I've heard music by people who have been compared to Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who are much closer to Waits musically, though the voice is closer to the other guys...

People have to stop making stupid and lazy connections...

Anonymous said...

Mmm... so what?