Tom Eure – The Coin, the Prayer & the Crow


The consummate mastery of a given musical style isn’t something you often hear from even veteran performers, but the sound of someone commanding their art and still managing to sound vibrant, alive, and connected with consistently challenging themselves is even rarer. Listeners will find that on Tom Eure’s The Coin, the Prayer & the Crow, a potent thirteen song weaving of vocal songs sharing space with some instrumental tracks featuring tight, focused arrangements. The production captures a surprising number of disparate musical elements bouncing off and complementing one another, keep these strands balanced and working together, all while investing the album’s sound in a rich layer of warmth. Despite any mood it pursues at a given time, Tom Eure’s album is an intimate and intensely human listening experience and working with a considerable talent like vocalist and musician Amelia Osborne only widens its range and adds weight to its impact on audiences.

The excellence of their collaboration is evident from the first. The backing vocals Osborne provides “The Wind Will Carry You Home” are gently effective without ever asserting too prominent of a role in the mix and Eure’s singing handles the bulk of the vocals to memorable effect. The album’s second song “Yes Please” is its first instrumental and a fine introduction to that side of this collection’s musical identity. The instrumentals on The Coin, the Prayer & the Crow are, invariably, the album’s shorter songs, with exception, but they never suffer in comparison from their lack of a vocal track. “Common Ground” is an uptempo tune in a bluegrass mold with a tense, high energy banjo line. The nasal qualities of Eure’s singing is never disconcerting to me; indeed, it gives the songs, even at their most upbeat, a hard won feeling that makes them ultimately more satisfying. Eure’s talents for constructing memorable narratives come to the fore with the song “The Best of Thee” and illustrates, as do other songs on this album, his ability to use seemingly dated language in an accessible and comprehensible way for listeners of any stripe.

Amelia Osborne’s vocal turn on the track “The Carving Tree” captures every ounce of the Appalachian nuance Eure and her want to convey with this song. There’s a distinctive flair to the writing and performance alike, however, that takes this out of tribute and into something much more profound and genuinely artful. Bluer shades creep into the album’s frame of reference with the song “All Together Now” and the bare bones presentation, moreso than even other examples we’ve so far heard from the release, enhances the song’s emotional immediacy. “Blue Smoke Hills” is, arguably, the album’s centerpiece and runs on much longer than any of the surrounding dozen songs. It’s worth every minute, however, and the crisp melodicism and playing defining the song from the first note on. It’s a chief defining quality of the release in general. Tom Eure goes far beyond merely aping the folk form and, instead, finds fresh life in this venerable style


Scott Wigley