Tonight I Ride
Few musicians can pull off in the studio the kind of live joy this album exudes. You just have to listen to track eight, “Welcome to Tom’s Place,” where all the musicians have first names of Tom. But it’s not just for yuks. The Toms include world-class musicians Tom Sauber and Tom Rozum.
The theme of this, Corbett’s third solo album, is the American West, but it’s the west with a twist. The title cut, for instance, was written about a German pulp writer of westerns who never visited the American West. It works as cowboy song, but knowing the background makes it even richer. And that’s what works on every cut of this album. It not only bears repeated listening, the experience gets richer and deeper each time.
The guest artists here are impressive, but not gratuitous. Corbett brings in Herb Pederson and Bill Bryson to sing on “Ease on Down the River,” and Nina Gerber and Los Lobos percussionist Victor Besetti are used to their greatest advantage. There’s Tex-Mex, country, bluegrass, and old-time here, with eleven of the songs written by Corbett. The one cover, “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” is the best version I’ve heard since Charley Pride’s. The whole project is masterfully engineered by David West.
Corbett’s voice is reminiscent of Jimmy Buffett, with a kind of relaxed intimacy that makes you want to kick back in the passenger seat and go on a long road trip across the Mojave. With Tom Corbett driving on these songs, you’ll have a great time. — CS