Tom House - That Dark Calling

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Tom House - That Dark Calling

Nashville folksinger Tom House pitches his literate tales of killer sociopaths and religious crackpots as if he’s the troubadour son of Flannery O’Connor. But he pitches those tales without any discernible sense of pitch, and his unearthly caterwaul might charitably be described as “untamed”—a bizarre, scatting hillbilly quaver that emerges midway between Bob Neuwirth and Tiny Tim. On That Dark Calling, House’s sixth album, he revisits the downbeat themes characterizing all his work—the meaninglessness of life, inevitability of death, not to mention the futility of drink, drugs or anything approximating love to fill the gaping spiritual hole. The unremitting despair and nihilism is given musical counterpoint by House’s acoustic guitar and Deanie Richardson’s bluesy fiddle. The playing is ragged and right, campfire music in the best sense of the term. House is a fine songwriter with a great eye for detail, but his dour sensibilities become oppressive after a while.

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