August 1, 2011 by Tommy Link
Finally, in honoring some of the great CD releases of the summer, I come to the most recent to my collection, though perhaps one of the longest awaited for me. I my pleasure to conclude this three part tip of the hat to the ingenuity, heart and excellence found in the Tom Hitt release: Scribe and Jester.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Hitt, Tom is a writer and musician like no other. He’s a man of serious thought and fearless humor, and incorporates both into his music. I’ve often struggled to define and describe him, though whether or not it was intentional, I believe he’s done a better job of it than I ever could have with this album.
The title and artwork may throw you at first, leaving you to wonder what to expect. Renaissance music? Musical interpretation of the Canterbury Tales? Hardly. The Scribe and Jester imagery seems to me to be much more a reflection of the man behind the music as opposed to the music itself. Tom Hitt is both the scribe and the jester. The writer and and the joker. The poet and the comedian. He has the balance that so many musicians strive for. He’s found the serious seriousness that he doesn’t take too seriously. I mean, seriously. He does.
What I mean by this is that Tom Hitt’s all the human bases. In seriousness, he scribes about compromise (Just Bend), the hardships of growing up (What’s a Long Time) and the nostalgia of youth(Super Hero Kid), mournful regret (We Could Never Be That Way) and honest compassion (Far From the Maddening Crowd). And right along side this, the jester is jesting. Tom is quick to take shots at himself, bringing attention to his southern upbringing (Southern Saying Song) and admitting his lack of desire and intention to compete for affection among locals (Lick My Wounds). Jealousy, exaggeration, lust, and good old fashion nonsense find their way into the comic aspects of these songs. It creates stories like no other.
The production is top-notch, which for me, goes without saying. Tom Hitt did the majority of the recording for my album, and I could not have been happier about the quality of it. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what someone could do with the equipment at their endless disposal. And now I don’t have to. Tom integrates more instruments than you could shake a didgeridoo at into the disc. He creates a different mood for nearly every song, from simple guitar and vocal productions to orchestras of musical obscurity, each capturing the idea like nothing else could.
And so concludes the three part album review. I would suggest going straight to tomhitt.com right now to find how you can get a hold of this album, and then feel free to backtrack through entries here if you missed the other two reviews. Getting to know musicians like Tom Hitt, Matt Boland and the members of Shotgun Jubilee has allowed me to become something greater. I’m not just a songwriter, I’m an Erie Songwriter. And with company like this, I’m more than proud to say it.