Tom Cochrane is one of my favourite singer/songwriters of all time. He’s right up there with Rick Springfield, John Waite and Paul Laine. I cannot emphasize how much many of his songs mean to me personally.
However, with just a measly two studio albums since 1998’s excellent X-Ray Siera, Tom’s really pushing fan patience. With an 8 year wait between albums, they had better be good.
I’ve left reviewing this album for a while as the last album No Stranger got an initially tepid response from myself, rating it too mellow, too laid back and lacking any real drive.
How wrong that initial assessment was. The album is one I’ve come to appreciate more over time, a very fine release indeed, with some of Tom’s most heartfelt ballads and while laid back, it also features some of his finest lyrical moments.
So with the arrival of Take It Home and that similar initial disappointment for the same reasons – laid back, slow and seemingly very lackluster, I held back to give the album time to grow.
Unfortunately it hasn’t. Tom’s declined further into the slow, acoustic driven old-man-syndrome that other artists like Bob Seger have suffered.
What’s worse, Take It Home crosses genre’s to touch on that other ‘must go to place’ for veteran artists – yes, that Nashville/country vibe, with slide guitar and a distinct twang featured on several tracks.
The album is diverse in nature, covering blues, country, roots and gospel, all delivered with Cochrane’s distinctive wail.
But despite the valid musical integrity of such an outing, there are only a handful of songs that resonate with me here at all, which is tragic when you consider how long fans have waited for this.
On the plus side is the pop/rock mid-tempo acoustic Can’t Stay Here, which despite a country slant features a nice smooth vocal and decent chorus.
Diamonds is more Tom Cochrane sounding and is a refreshing high quality mid-tempo tune.
Despite the title, Country Girls Never Get Old, still manages to deliver a crossover old/new TC sound, mixing slide guitar with organ and electric guitar.
Pink Time is a beautiful laid back ballad with some extraordinary co-lead female vocals (from who I don’t know, I have a digital promo only thus far).
On the negative for me is several unfortunately. The jangly lead single Sunday Afternoon Hang is simply Life Is A Highway meets Kid Rock and is the best of neither; When The Light Starts To Fade is pure blues/country but goes nowhere; First Time Around is a distorted fuzz/rock tune that just grates; A Prayer For Hope is old-school country and Back In The Game is just hokey R&B.
Tom’s vision of creating a southern American themed album featuring country, blues and gospel is achieved here. There’s a lot of heart and soul poured into these songs and for that you can’t fault Tom. But for me it’s just not something I want to keep coming back to, especially when some of the songs just don’t have enough life in them to draw you back and a couple of others just grate on my ears.
There are a couple of new TC classics for sure and the depth of lyrical talent is still there, but the catchiness and the traditional Tom Cochrane sound is not.