Tom Kelly

Tom Kelly - 3 CD Solo Works

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Tom Kelly (RIP)
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February 18, 2019
Every now and then something quite extraordinary, music wise, jumps out at you and demands immediate attention. In the case of this review it was a simple request to listen to some works written, mixed and recorded by Tom Kelly, a multi-instrumentalist from Rancho Palos Verdes, All of which was recorded at his home studio(s) in Carson City, NV and Carlton, OR. Sadly, as a result of Tom (RIP) recently departing from this life, his wife Nickie put together a special memorial CD for his friends and family. She later decided that she couldn't stop at this point and decided to issue everything he had finished as a fully comprehensive project. She quotes the purpose being “To bring about some kind of justice to make sense of his leaving the earth too soon” What subsequently has been produced and released is a set of three CDs containing all of his recorded solo work

What struck me immediately was the sheer beauty of the compositions contained on those three discs. Right from the off the music sounded symphonically bright and interesting with a certain air of equanimity about the arrangements even in their most basic and unadulterated form, It also occurred to me, that anyone interested in understanding how the process of musical composition works that these recordings provide a real visionary insight into the complete process. Not only the skills needed to layer together with the various multi-instrumental parts but also the art of continuity in piecing them together, In fact they constitute in their entirety an absolute master craft of melodic, harmonic and tuneful musical assembly.

Of course, as I found, the more you engross yourself with Tom’s music the more you realise that the wealth of ideas contained and built up over the three albums. It is in fact simply immense the depth and variety of the work which has been produced here. Generally, building up from a foundation of delightful piano chord sequences the music on each track expands outwards to capture and embrace further swathes of melodic piano dressings. Such melodic dressings are then further decorated with all sorts of well-considered mixed keyboard effects and then even further embellished with various choral adornments. Furthermore, selected tracks within the recording process have then been further enhanced with layers of electric lead guitar. These are deployed in many various forms ranging from simple treated note sequences to more exacting psychedelic style modulations and deviations. Noticeably there are no obvious percussive elements integrated into the mix except for a delightfully busy bass guitar rumbling serenely on and throughout the tracks gluing everything together.

Comparisons by others in the direction of Mike Oldfield do ring very true although the tunes from Tom Kelly here are quite unique with no direct likeness on a note for note basis. However, it is in the manor of note progression and the build of repetitive intensity that a similarity of styles is realised. It is exactly this aspect of the music that takes it away from a symphonic classical footing and headlong into a more progressive rock direction.

Summary: A delightful collection of guitar, bass and keyboard solo works from an extremely talented multi-instrumental musician.

The following short biography was provided by Nicki Harte Kelly: “California musician Tom Kelly began taking guitar lessons when he was 5 and by the time he was in his teens, he was composing symphonic music for electric instruments. Later he presented the music in handwritten notation for his various bands (Still, Yellow Autumn, and Mistress Quickly [named for the Shakespearean character]). A music producer of the time (1970’s) termed it, “chamber music for electric instruments. With the demise of Mistress Quickly, Tom continued on in this tradition, but recorded all of the music by himself expanded his repertoire from electric, bass and acoustic guitars to include all manner of keyboards.
After his death in 2017, with the help from previous band member and continuous friend and collaborator, David Hurst (ex-member every band of Tom Kelly’s), I prepared these three CDs comprising his completed solo life’s works. The three albums can be purchased together, or separately at CD Baby, as CD's, downloaded and even separate tracks should one wish. There is a 10% discount on purchasing more than one at a time. Tom Kelly | CD Baby Music Store”.

Track Listing -All of the music featured on the three CDs

The Tolling of St. John’s Bells & The Burnt Peas Suite –Total 55.53
1. The Tolling of St. John’s Bells 4:42
2. Burnt Peas (Parts 1 & 2) 8:22
ii God & The Flatlanders (Waltz Version) 3:40
iii Burnt Peas (Part 3) 2:35
iv Burnt Peas (Part 4) 2:00
v March of the Spirit Peas 2:43
vi Burnt Peas Finale 2:51
3. Nothing Ends, Nothing Begins 5:47
4. Fugue in B Minor 1:58
5. God & The Flatlanders (Acoustic Celtic) 1:55
6. Sloppy Love At Bodie Flats 7:21
7. Staring It In the Face (Part 1) 3:04
8. Staring It In the Face (Part 2) 5:14
9. Love IS Money 6:21

A Quail’s House ~ Track Listings -Total 39.85
2. The Wayfarer (Part 1) 3:58
3. The Wayfarer (Part 2) 1:03
4. The Wayfarer (Part 3) 3:05
5. The Wayfarer (Part 4) 1:10
6. The Fork 4:02
7. West Fork 1:23
8. East Fork 1:54
9. Imagination or Knowledge? 2:15
10. Travels (Part 1) 2:14
11. Travels (Part 2) 1:59
12. Travels (Part 3) 3:35
13. The Keys 3:14
14. The Bend (Waltz in E Minor) 5:48
15. The Fork Boogie 1:22

Spinning Through Eternity Track List –Total 41,43
1. Remains of Childhood Lost (For Chuck Blashaw) 5:50
2. Ma & Pa Kettle Go To Hell (unfinished) 1:57
3. Cows Appear Out Of Nowhere (unfinished) 2:10
4. Catherine 10:04
5. A Book Wife’s Dream of Her Own Imposter ~ Dedication
Featuring Celebrity Party in Hollywood 1962 in stunning black
and white 7:12
ii Forward 2:51
iii Chapter One ~ A Book Wife 3:28
iv A Book Wife’s Dream 1:28
v Spinning Through Eternity 8:03

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