Singer-songwriter/guitarist Bill Bloomer is prepping to drop a new platter. It’s titled Bounty and drops on August 2. But first, for those not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Bloomer is an Illinois native and (according to his website) “a descendant of Albert Sidney Johnston (general in three armies; Texian, U.S., and Confederate).” He is both “poet” and “cowboy.” In fact, Bloomer met the late, great Hunter S. Thompson while wrestling a nine-month-old lion at a ‘Wild West Show’.”
This led to his rodeo career. At the age of 36, he suffered a serious injury and swapped his lasso for an acoustic guitar. He also spent 11 years in Thailand detoxing “from painkillers at a Buddhist temple” where he “was ordained as a ‘forest monk’.”
His riffin’ resume includes four previous platters. His initial audio offering being the 1998 album Temple Dogs. He has also played live in several different countries and opened for such other artists as Butch Hancock and Rambling Jack Elliot. His signature sound is a mix of multiple music genres, including Americana, country, and folk.
Bounty is a follow up to his 2018 disc Jubilee. His obvious influences include Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rogers, and The Band. On this album, Bloomer leads the way on acoustic guitar and vocals. He is occasionally backed by an assortment of other artists including Janie Cowan and Kip Powell (upright bass), Danny Frankel (drums and percussion), Bobby Furgo (piano, violin and accordion), Wally Ingram (djembe, drums and percussion), Scott Kisinger (trumpet and trombone), Lucio Menegon (electric guitar), Chet O’Keefe (acoustic and electric guitar), Anthony Faller (B3 and piano), James Platt (harmonica and nylon string guitar), Lisa Mednick Powell (accordion), Rosa Pullman (backing vocals), co-producer Gar Robertson (lap and pedal steel, bass, bottleneck guitar, and electric rhythm guitar), and Myshkin Warbler (backing vocals).
Track by track
This 11-track album of all original material opens on “Doing Things Different.” This is a quiet, laid back but effective album opener. It’s also the first single from the work.
The second selection is “Earthly Sensations.” It stands out due in part to the gospel tinge worked into it. The song would not be out of place in New Orleans, in fact.
“Hard Act To Follow” reveals a sense of weariness. Whether or not it is from life on the road, his life in general or just expertly translated from some other source into the music here is unknown and perhaps unimportant. It works.
“Lonely People” follow here. The track is interesting because it is sad and relatively calm and yet somehow has an underlying element of fun. It is unclear if it is the chorus, the vocal harmonies, the world-music-tinged percussion or all those things is not clear but the song is a standout.
Also included here is “Our Boat At The End Of The World.” While perhaps overshadowed by other cuts, this too provides listeners with an interesting, sincere song-story.
“No Hay Otro (There’s No Other)” is clearly one of the best and brightest tracks on the album. It has a great world music vibe to it.
Things quiet down again on “Banks Of Banglampoo.” The song is both imaginative and reflective.
While a song such as “I Only Get Homesick At Night” is a prerequisite for a self-styled traveling troubadour, it is nonetheless effective. Anyone who has chosen to pay the bills on the road can appreciate this one.
“Hog Leg Stew” is a fun track. It almost has a swampy blues feel to it that gives it its own little identity.
“Anyway I Found You” is a ballad with some nice, basic musical ingredients. While perhaps dedicated to someone special it certainly works in a more general sense as well.
“Thoroughbreds” is an early fan fave and yet one final example of what Bloomer can do as a songwriter.
Overall, this is a solid, honest offering of personally-penned oft’times poetic pieces on love, loss, and hope built upon Bloom’s signature baritone vocals. So check out Bill Bloomer’s Bounty and experience all his “Earthly Sensations.”