Where You Are

Tom Sheehan


19 North Records
P.O.Box 244
Reading, PA 19603

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch


Where You Are is the first CD release from singer-songwriter Tom Sheehan; it includes nine new Sheehan songs, plus intimate covers of John Prine's masterpiece Angel From Montgomery and Steve Earle's gem Nothing But A Child. Sheehan released one record back in the seventies, and it seems his recent CD is highly influenced by the music of that time: Jackson Browne, Wendy Waldman, Karla Bonnoff, J.D. Souther, The Eagles, and many country-rock bands. Sheehan's voice reminds one of Don Henley, Cliff Eberhardt, Bob Seeger, and John Prine. His music is very clean pop with some hints of country and folk. The production is clear and communicative, though I think that better results would favor Sheehan's voice mixed more up front. This was also the kind of music you used to hear in FM stations in the 70's, and the CD sounds like a very good one to listen in the car.

Sheehan plays an impressive array of instruments on the recording, including acoustic and electric guitars, bass, organ, piano, accordion, mandolin, Rhodes, harmonica, violin, drums, percussion and sings all the vocal parts. Supporting him on the CD are accomplished studio musicians David Cullen (guitar on five tracks) and Ken Gehret (very touching violin on four songs). Where You Are was co-produced and mixed by Staveley C. Andrews and mastered by Andy VanDette in New York City.

Three songs have the word 'angel' in the title. Like John Stewart, Sheeham seems to show a special interest with them, and many poignant songs seem to be about disasters. In Wish Upon A Star Sheehan brings us very convincingly the words of someone who has just lost his loved one in an unexpected accident:

Where the hell do you think you're going?
You can't leave me all alone
How am I supposed to go home now
When all I cared about is gone?
Kiss me once for strength and once for luck
Promise there's no reason for me to fear
'Cause it's so hard for me when I wake up
And realize that you're not here.
This song is that rare performance that grows, becoming stronger with every listen.

Where You Are is about the trial of the century. Sheehan doesn't say what trial he considers to be the trial of the century, just that it is about a football player. Expounding further on that point, City Of Angels is about the Menendez Brothers and what O.J. Simpson might have said to Rev. Rosie Greer:

Lord hear my prayer
Yea, I can't believe it's me
It's been a long time, since you last heard from me
I've been living a good life of sin
in the City of Angels
That's how Sheehan sees Los Angeles---no more angels in the City of Angels.

The chorus of Die Like Elvis goes: "I don't want to die like the king/I don't want to die like Elvis." As in the Talmud, where there are 903 different kinds of death, this song tells us of the many facets of death. The moral of the story is that even at the moment of death, we are not equals. I also found the version of Steve Earle's carol Nothing But A Child very beautiful. Particularly with the upcoming holiday season, it is especially relevant.

Where You Are is a very varied CD, with something for everyone. I don't know if this CD will reach many people, but I certainly urge any programmers of radio shows of pop, folk, easy listening and even country to look for this CD. They will sure find one or two songs for their shows.

Song List:

  • Where You Are (Tom Sheehan)
  • City of Angels (Tom Sheehan)
  • Die Like Elvis (Tom Sheehan)
  • Under the Desert Sky (Tom Sheehan)
  • Little Angel (Tom Sheehan)
  • Angel From Montgomery (John Prine)
  • Before the Storm (Tom Sheehan)
  • Wish Upon A Star (Tom Sheehan)
  • Love Me Tonight (Tom Sheehan)
  • Nothing But A Child (Steve Earle)
  • East of Heaven (Tom Sheehan)

Edited by David Schultz

Copyright 1998, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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