Tom Eure – The Coin, the Prayer & the Crow
Tom Eure’s thirteen song blending of instrumental and vocal led composition, evocatively titled The Coin, the Prayer & The Crow, is a reminder of the abiding power of folk music. It’s also an astonishingly vital and modern audio document that does far more than chronicle one man’s fidelity to a fading form; it provides a vivid instrumental and textural record of the hearts who toiled over its creation. The North Carolina based singer/songwriter/musician enlisted Amelia Osbourne to help realize these songs and she certainly does and as more than just a vocalist. Make no mistake, however, that Eure wisely allows her the spotlight more than once on this album and the results are extraordinarily satisfying and memorable. Eure’s stylistic allegiance to his Appalachian and Celtic roots doesn’t mean that these songs are staid butterflies pinned other well produced glass – instead, The Coin, the Prayer & The Crow comes off as the result of a genuine artist pouring old wine into new bottles and making listeners believe.
One of the most successful cuts from the album comes at us from the first. “The Wind Will Take You Home” sweeps through listener’s consciousness with particularly vivid lyrical force, each line giving natural way into the next, and the music likewise seemingly tailored for the experience. The song’s Celtic roots are clear, but they are never anything less than genuinely and tastefully presented. “Yes Please” embodies the mood of the album’s instrumentals with its surging melodicism and the even-handed pacing and tempo taken with the arrangement. These numbers succeed every bit as much as the songs with vocals thanks to their even fiercer focus on melody and the lightly layered qualities they possess. “Song of Remembrance” mixes a variety of emotions, some of them bittersweet, and has a particularly artful beginning before segueing into exquisite, near-crystalline acoustic guitar work. The near spectral mix of Eure and Oxborne’s voices reaches its beautiful zenith with this song and lends its narrative added poignancy.
The colorful and swirling melodicism of the fiddle dominated instrumental “The Path Home” captures a lot of its essentially upbeat tenor, fitting in nicely with similarly themed album tracks, and its follow-up “The Carving Tree” signals a hard shift in mood. Amelia Osborne takes over full time vocal duties for this song and has Eure join her only briefly during the song’s chorus. The darker tone of the fiddle playing never overworks to achieve its effects and maintains graceful brevity throughout the entire song. “Finish Line” has some qualities familiar to lovers of classic country and a playful vocal melody to help deliver a well phrased, timelessly mature message to listeners. Eure’s understated charisma shines through here making this one of the album’s potential sleepers. The buoyant step of the penultimate tune “The Return” fits the album’s shortest song overall and sets up an equally likable, appropriate final curtain with the song “Time With You”. Tom Eure’s The Coin, The Prayer & The Crow is a rewarding musical experience guided by a sure hand at or near the peak of his creative powers.