Published Apr 27, 2016When one thinks of folk music, a saxophone solo doesn't exactly spring to mind, but that typically jazzy instrument is used to surprisingly folksy effect on Soft Summer, Tim Moxam's solo debut. The former member of the now defunct but still beloved folk troop Great Bloomers recruited an impressive band of his own for Summer, including Christopher Weatherstone, of gypsy punk outfit the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, to play warmly restrained horn. It's just one of the many unique twists with which Moxam fills this LP.
Chief among those special attributes: his voice. Moxam sings with a soft shrillness and a pointed lilt that punctuate key lines for added effect. Those lyrics, unfortunately, are less consistent than the LP's other laudable elements. "Harvest for the Queen," starts off strong: "Girl I never loved you, but I do believe I've come to love your ways." However, that powerful opener and a gorgeously twangy guitar solo barely salvage the tune from Moxam's later hokey lines, which include "I love you like a bank loves money" and "I love you like a bee loves honey." "On and On" suffers from even more trite lyrics, particularly "Who will rise the sun? You're the only one."
Those blemishes are easily overlooked though, thanks to the strength of Moxam's voice and his top notch backing band, which include former Bloomers like Adrian Cook on guitar and Tony McKnight on bass, along with Great Lake Swimmers' Joshua Van Tassel on percussion and the Weather Station's Ivy Mairi and RALPH's Raffa Weyman on soothing backing vocals, alongside Weatherstone on the horn. Together, they live up to the LP's name, delivering a cozy soundtrack to the forthcoming warm weather. (Roaring Girl Records / Fontana North)