“I hesitate to say it this way, but I sort of eat life and shit songs,” laughs Tom Rhodes, singer, writer, and master of all things stringed, who released his fifth full-length album, Who You Were, in July. Rhodes, who finds creative inspiration in the temperate beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area which he now calls home, explains that there’s more to writing than what you see. “The songs are the result of the life experiences. Your environment obviously informs that, but life is more than your physical surroundings,” he says. “I tend to travel a lot, and interesting things happen when you break out of your comfort zone.”
Composed of 13 stunners delivered in his signature raspy vocals, the album features a change in Rhodes’ writing style. “I stopped trying to write about how I feel about things, and started writing about what I know about things,” he reveals. “Writing about your feelings isn’t unique or interesting, unless it’s told in a different way. Otherwise, it’s just repetition.”
What he knows is the art of storytelling, and he comes by it honestly; his beloved father, who passed away in late 2015, was a master of the craft himself. “My dad used to tell me stories at night when he’d tuck me in, stories he’d just make up. There was a recurring cast of characters, like different television shows,” recalls Rhodes fondly.
“There would be a lesson involved in there too,” he continues. “I realized as I got older what a unique experience that was. This isn’t a sad album about my father’s passing; it’s more of a way of saying thank you to him, rather than saying goodbye.”
Rhodes’ goal was to tell life-lesson stories about things are important on a big scale, but that were a fun listening experience. “A good story keeps you entertained,” he says, “But a great story teaches you something as well.”
Purchase Who You Were: http://tomrhodesmusic.com/merch/