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CD REVIEW: Thomas Leary -­ TL
By Ben Ohmart - 09/09/2001 - 08:32 PM EDT

Artist: Thomas Leary
Album: ­ TL
CD Review: These 16 tracks represent Thomas Leary’s 2nd album, a self-made disc in every sense of the word. All
instruments, voices, and production by TL himself. Quite an accomplishment. Though in all honesty, it
Sounds like a self-made album, in that the mostly country songs are simple in ornamentation, a bit
uniform in backing vocals (though the man’s got a real ear for harmonies), and an absence of some real lively solo. But that’s not what this cd is supposed to be. Ever hear McCartney II? Paul did it all himself, as a sequel to his first McCartney effort: that was the point. And that’s what Leary seeks for himself.

A few of the songs are remakes of previous winning efforts, the most important being the highly
harmonized ‘Bluegrass Baby,’ a hoppin’ fiddle of a number that never fails to inspire barn dances among
the young and old. ‘She’s my bluegrass baby / I was always rock and roll / Until the county fair /
Wandered to the bluegrass stage / And found a lovely lady there.’

‘Arizona Highway’ takes up where the backing vocals off on ‘Bluegrass Baby,’ like a Beach Boys country
song. ‘Arizona highway callin’ me back to stay / I was just a young boy when we moved way out west / Drove straight ‘cross those open plains put that ol’ car to the test.’ Yeah, like a BB live gig from the 70s, with plenty of stomp and circumstance.

Illinois guy Leary is quite a talented bunch of stuff. Definitely not straight country, and certainly not
undiluted rock, yet the country side comes out a bit too strong to call this effort entirely radio
crossover. But the airplay he’s getting for his previous effort is strong, and like a good couple cups
of coffee in the morning, this album kicks you into a state of big hat being.

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