“The protest singer has a pulse again” Sunday Times
“Magnificent voice” Janice Long, BBC2
“For fans of Ben Harper, Ray LaMontagne and Van Morrison” 4 stars Guitarist Magazine
“..a gruff voice and thoughtful, classic roots rock should earn him a bevy of fans” 4 stars, Q magazine
A year ago the Sunday Times wrote of Tom Moriarty, “the protest singer has a pulse again.” What is more, it was said about someone whose life had seen him go from factory worker to LSE student to LA rocker to City worker to recording and voice over artist and Occupy activist….life’s rich tapestry indeed.
In 2011, Tom released his debut album “Fire in the doll’s house”, an album which received critical acclaim from major music publications. Tom now returns with a new EP “Snapshots of Reality”, 5 tracks based on his own experiences, the lives of others and in particular influenced by his time involved in the Occupy movement. “People think we’re all sorts of things but actually we’re just a group of people believing that there has to be a better way than this.” He adds, “It doesn’t seem to be working for most people…”
In comparison to “Fire”, “Snapshots” reveals a softer lighter touch to the vocal and a multi-layering of backing vocals at times reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash, somehow evoking echoes of California and The peace movement of the late 60s and 70s. It also reflects a change of producer with Tom choosing to work with Tristan Longworth, producer to successful singer/songwriter Jon Allen.
The focus on songwriting has been in part inspired by Tom’s monthly evening in London, the Driftwood Sessions, where Tom gathers together other similarly talented and inspiring songwriters with former guests including Chris Difford, Charlie Winston, Adam Burridge, Jon Allen, Robert Vincent, Jazz Morley, Chris MacDonald, Sam Lewis and Josh Bray.
The vibe of the EP may also have something to do with Ibiza where Moriarty penned the songs, “a lot of the love generation ended up in Ibiza actually,” he reflects, “we always stay with one.” With its stripped back instrumentation, the focus is on melody and message rather than in-your-face loud confrontational angry protest. As Moriarty adds, “Sometimes it’s better to whisper the future.”
Given the approach to this collection and the quality of songwriting it is no surprise that there have already been comparisons with Crowded House at times whilst at the same time retaining that raspy weathered vocal still reminiscent at times of Eddie Vedder, Springsteen and Ray LaMontagne. And unlike Fire we also get to hear Tom’s musicianship whether the bluesy kickback guitar solo in “My World” or a tender Knopfler-like moment in “Fade Away”, reflecting perhaps Tom’s classical training.
And so Moriarty tells us stories relating to those moments in life that remain imprinted on the mind whether sadness, love, hope, anger or victory. “There are a lot of people going through a hard time right now and “Falling Down” is empathising with that feeling of helplessness. “Finding a Better Way” is for those who believe there is one. I’ll let you guess which one is about the bankers.”