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Tom Atwood | Songs from the American Plain

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Folk: Modern Folk Classical: Contemporary Moods: Type: Political
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Songs from the American Plain

by Tom Atwood

A fusion of acoustic folk and modern classical music; songs that are sometimes spiritual, sometimes political and always personal; orchestral compositions that blur the borders between Classical and New Age.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Man Born Blind
3:52 $0.99
2. What's Wrong With This World
3:47 $0.99
3. The Life of Sally O'Brien
2:24 $0.99
4. Exurban Prayer
4:06 $0.99
5. Revolving Door
3:47 $0.99
6. In Between
2:52 $0.99
7. An Error Thinly
4:20 $0.99
8. Roundup® the World
3:32 $0.99
9. Coriander's Rag
1:56 $0.99
10. 18 Games (A Lament for Busch Stadium)
4:01 $0.99
11. Chasing Shadows
4:12 $0.99
12. Take My Hand
4:36 $0.99
13. American Plain (I. Fanfare)
2:38 $0.99
14. American Plain (II. Kansas)
5:02 $0.99
15. American Plain (III. Progress & Destruction))
5:50 $0.99
16. American Plain (IV. Hymn)
4:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Tom Atwood's songs are stories of life in America: imploding baseball stadiums, dying amphibians, asphalt, weed killer, and the local news. Sharp commentary wrapped in plain paper and smooth harmonies. “If I close my eyes, I can hear a touch of Pete Seeger," says fellow songwriter Tim McFate. “Easy to listen to and always hoping to be heard. Just really good songwriting."

A documentary producer, Tom Atwood began writing songs more than 30 years ago. His first record, a 45 RPM, was produced in 1975 with the acoustic band “Arm and Hammer." Through the collaborative website www.macjams.com, Atwood has performed with artists from around the world, posting more than fifty original compositions in 2005. Many of them are included on "Songs from the American Plain," his latest CD on The Lost Recordsâ„¢ label.

What other songwriters are saying about Tom Atwood and "Songs from the American Plain:"

"A real treasure...this is truly masterful. You have captured the great complexity of a deceptively 'plain' thing. Through it all, the ups and downs, the aggression and peace, in the end I am left with a full and warmed heart. Your songs always show such wisdom."
-- Peter Greenstone, Austin

"Whenever I listen to your music, I always find myself abandoning whatever I was at and just falling into the world of your songs. Then I press repeat and do it all over again."
-- Lisa Purdy, Seattle

"Your singing is always so beautiful, and your harmonies are always so well-wrought; mixed with real plain-speaking lyrics...you have so much ability, but you never let that overshadow the meaning of a piece of music."
-- William Shaw, London


Liner notes from "Songs from the American Plain" CD:
"One year ago, if you had told me I would release a CD in 2005, I never would have believed it. But on New Year’s Eve 2004 I joined an online music community, www.macjams.com, and began posting original songs. I also began composing and recording music using GarageBand, computer software that makes high quality home studios possible. During the past year I have posted more than 50 songs. Some of them are included on this CD.

"'American Plain,' the orchestral suite written over a period of four months, was inspired by the broad, almost endless landscape of the Midwest. I also chose that title because I believe the symphony (and the rest of the music on this CD) is very plain. In fact, its composer is, too. As “American plain” as they come. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing?

"I would like to thank several people who helped me produce this CD. Mystified, who urged me to write 'American Plain;' Al Ligammari, who lent his technical and musical expertise; and Sally, Riley and Ellen, who always knew where they could find me this year: in the basement, on the computer, making music."
-- Tom Atwood, December 2005


What others are saying about "The Man Born Blind:"
"Glorius! It's so absurdly joyful, and has that really visceral, unrestrained, strange gospel wildness to it. It build and builds and builds. I was smiling like an idiot by the time it finished."
-- William Shaw, London

What others are saying about "Exurban Prayer:"
"A simple, sad marvel. More about this world than heaven; more about sadness and disappointment than hope or expectation. So well performed, so simply and truly stated. Marvelous. Another jewel from you, Tom."
-- Tobin Mueller, Rowayton, CT

"Immediately upon hearing the first few notes I was transported back to my childhood, laying on the couch and opening my ears to my parents' record collection... specifically The Kingston Trio. Great lyrics, performance, heart, sentiment. This is going on my favorites. Beautiful."
-- Steve Hale, Portland

About "In Between:"
"Have to say, I got shivery and a little choked up listening to this. This one got me from all directions. The melody, as well as the lyrics, are extremely strong."
-- Eric Stun Nutz

"Your song hit me like a ton of bricks. Since I am employed in the media, this song is especially poignant. More and more, it is a struggle to keep listening to what's happening in the world at the pace in which is expected. I identify so strongly with this song, Tom. Awesome vocal and songwriting. The guitar is superb."
-- Tom Schmitt, Syracuse

"Another powerful commentary on society today, and it was achieved by simple means, which you seem to do so well."
-- Daphne Kalfon, Toronto

About "Revolving Door:"
"This music with repetitive variations reminds me of the
contemporary works of John Adams, Steven Reich and
Philip Glass...very soothing and stimulating at the same time.
-- Cameron Kopf, Brisbee, AZ



to write a review

Peter Greenstone

A Real Treasure
There is already a review quote from me in the notes above because I had reviewed Tom's music elswhere before it became available on CD Baby. But I want to take the opportunity to throw down five stars for it here.

This album is a treasure of wonderful music. Tom has such a brilliant way with words and music that is always moving and thought-provoking without being preachy. This album captures the spirit of the American plains, from city to suburb to prairie. Mixing Arlo Guthrie-like folk, Phillip Glass-like orchestration, and gospel influences, often with a touch of jazz here and there, this album captures a complexity and richness and makes it easily accessible to the heart and soul.

A real pleasure to the ears too.