Song of the Day, August 4: Yonder (Down the Winding Road) by John Tams
August 4, 2016 Leave a comment
Today’s song is a stirring mission statement from a great folk talent. John Tams’ long career has included work as a singer, actor, musical director, and bandleader. After recording with the Albion Band and Home Service, he finally began releasing solo albums in 2000. His second foray, 2003’s Home, is a masterpiece. Centered on ideas of travel and rest, it’s a great song cycle, and the third track sums up the disc nicely.
Yonder (Down the Winding Road) has a simple folk structure, repeating the chorus around a series of hopes and observations. Cautiously optimistic, it reaches for the solace that comes at the end of a journey. The path may be short or long, simple or arduous, but the knowledge that something worthwhile is at the end keeps the traveller going.
Percussionist Keith Angel — the disc’s secret weapon — provides quiet support with an uncluttered surdo line. Longtime Tams friend and collaborator Barry Coope turns in a fine organ line, adding brightness to the journey. Tams supplies a nice acoustic guitar figure and turns out one of his finest vocals. His strong voice is low, almost restrained, saving itself for the many steps ahead, but clearly ready to take them.
Enjoy this wonderful song today.