Tom Ovans: Get On Board

~ Wednesday, 7 October 2009
This is the 12th, yes 12th album from the irrepressible Austin, Texas musician and has a kind of homemade feel, mainly due to the fact it was recorded as a live session in the studio. Ovans is one of those musicians that can divide the listener into two camps. Maverick genius or Bob Dylan impersonator. Now, I personally can't stand Dylan's music or voice, but I do like Ovans. His brand of dirty blues ridden Americana has a rawness about it with an integrity that is easy to connect with.

Album opener and title track Get On Board is a rockin' bit of alt-country that reminds me of Matthew Sweet at his finest. The voice still has that rasping quality, like a young Rod Stewart, which is perfectly suited to the more stripped back acoustic stuff like Every Single One, Rainbows (very Steve Earle) and the epic To Late Now.

Ovans does like to rock out when he gets the chance. The downbeat and plodding Breakdown and Cry is overshadowed by the more driven Honourable Mention and the short and sweet Never Been In Love, but the stand out Night Train is by far the best of the full band tracks on here. The inclusion of the horn section an inspired decision.

The honour of best track must fall to Western Plains Blues, a truly simple and beguiling piece of county blues that seems to encapsulate what Ovans is all about.

I'm the first to admit that this album won't be everyone's bag, and perhaps Ovans was born 30 years to late, but there is an undeniable charm and honesty to his music that makes him an artist worth searching out.

[][][][] (4/5)