The New York City centered album Big Apple Blues by Tom Doncker Band was an amazing change of pace. With smooth as velvet vocals and captivating lyrics, every ounce of your attention is focused in on the story that each song tells. The album is a collaborative effort with poet Yusef Komunyakaa and was released on October 21st of 2014, through True Groove Records.
The combination of the amazing lyrics by Doncker and Komunyakaa just add to the overall feel of each song. You feel like you’re right there with them, whatever space they were in when they were sitting down to write there songs. Every song is different, with its own story to tell. The only thing that ties them together is their general theme of New York City. You can perfectly picture the ups and downs of living in the Big Apple, and all of the emotions that come with it. Usually with music, the lyrics are a side thought. But with Big Apple Blues¸ the music is centered around the lyrics. And it’s beautiful.
The lyrics are only amplified by the vocals from Doncker himself, and the instrumentals by the band. I often compare albums to stories. But if albums really are stories, then this is a picture book. Every song is a piece of artwork. The lyrics are the main idea, the main concept, the pencil outlines on that piece of paper. The instrumentals are the paint strokes, painting in and around the pencil markings. Every note from the guitar, to the harmonica, to the vocals is a stroke that only amplifies the picture and makes you see it clearly.
One of the songs that stood out was “The New Day.” The mental picture that I got in my mind was of a morning in New York, with all of the people starting to wake up, with different people going to sleep, with life starting to bloom again. It was such a clear picture, and along with that picture came a feeling. It was absolutely wonderful.
This is an absolutely beautiful album, an absolute art piece. It reminds me of the kind of music that I grew up hearing in small bars and at different festivals, and it was an absolute pleasure to hear it again.