Distinguished song craftsmen Tom Baxter is set to make his long-awaited return to record on 5 October 2018 with his first official release in a decade, The Other Side of Blue. Baxter will support the new release with a full 31 date UK and Ireland tour, taking in a date at London’s Union Chapel on November 6, 2018.
Back in 2008 Tom brought out the self-funded Skybound, the follow-up to the 2004 Feather & Stone, which first alerted the wider world to his singular talent for emotionally immersive composition. Since then, he’s released one fan-only album, traveled, been through plenty of soul-searching and emerged at the other end with what may well be his best-ever work.
Baxter made his name with such heart-stopping originals as Better, Almost There and Day in Verona, and his songs have been covered by or admired by artists including Tom Waits, Rufus Wainwright and even Dame Shirley Bassey, alongside a steadfast set of fans who have been waiting for word of his next adventure for more than a while.
The Other Side of Blue is probably Baxter’s most searingly personal work to date, and is performed entirely solo and with gorgeous guitar and piano. It’s a beautiful, stripped back and elegant return to his very core as a songwriter. “I feel like I’ve been through a very slow metamorphosis over the years,” he says. “Even I’m not sure into what, but I can say I’m calmer inside, and I thought it was time for a full-on new release.”
While other artists rush so readily to provide the personal information that feeds the beast of self-promotion, Tom has kept his counsel, determined to be defined only by his music, and at his own pace. But it has been a tumultuous ten years. He married the long-time girlfriend for whom he wrote the Ivor Novello Award-nominated Better, but then endured a divorce and, more recently, was happily remarried. Along the way, he lived in Devon, travelled to India, Los Angeles, Spain and then to Brazil, the place that inspired him to find the impetus to write again.
The new album is entirely free of “production camouflage,” as he puts it, and is underpinned by The Ballad of Davey Graham, the song he was inspired to write after a request to play at the unveiling of a blue plaque for the great guitar pioneer of the title. In a moment of pure serendipity, Davey’s partner had written to request Tom’s contribution because Graham was not only an admirer of his, but she revealed that Baxter’s music was the last that Davey had listened to.
What they didn’t know is that the revelation completed a perfect circle, because Davey had been one of the very inspirations for Baxter to pick up a guitar in the first place. Tom duly paid back the compliment by playing at the ceremony, and found that the whole experience refuelled his creative spirits to remarkable effect. He went on to finish what has become The Other Side Of Blue with a renewed sense of his place in the musical ecosystem. As he describes the record himself, “there’s no bells or whistles. Just me, myself and I, with absolutely nowhere to hide.”
Baxter’s albums have always enveloped the listener with a delicious intensity, and so it is again on The Other Side of Blue, which takes us from the heart-wrenching title track and others such as For Crying Out Loud, to the more positive place that Baxter now himself inhabits, expressed in the gentle optimism of When I’m In Your Hands.
RockShot are hoping to catch Tom on his last date, and there are plenty of opportunities to catch him before that.
29th The Black Box, Belfast
30th The Grand Social, Dublin
1st Roisin Dubh, Galway
2nd Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick
4th INEC Killarney Acoustic Club, Poulnamuck
5th De Barra’s, Clonakilty
6th Triskel Christchurch, Cork
7th Spirit Store, Dundalk
13th The Ropewalk, Barton
14th Live Room, Shipley
15th St Mary’s Church, Beverley
17th ARC, Stockton
18th Glee Club Studio, Nottingham
19th Worthing Pier, Worthing
21st Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury
26th The Grand, Clitheroe
27th South Beach Hotel, Troon
28th The Caves, Edinburgh
29th Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
30th Oran Mor, Glasgow
Nov 2 | The Stables, Milton Keynes
Nov 3 | The Hat Club, Beaconsfield|
Nov 4 | Chapel Arts, Bath | https://bit.ly/2Jzwlwt
Nov 6 | Union Chapel, London | https://bit.ly/2LwbQhF
Nov 7 | Glee Club Main Room, Birmingham | https://bit.ly/2t9R7IN
Nov 8 | Selby Town Hall, Selby | https://bit.ly/2JrXC0I
Nov 21 | St David’s Hall, Cardiff | https://bit.ly/2sLSbT6
Nov 22 | RNCM, Manchester | https://bit.ly/2kVKA0J
Nov 24 | Kings Somborne Village Hall, Kings Somborne |
Nov 26 | Town Hall, Leeds | https://bit.ly/2JCJpkH
Nov 27 | Corn Exchange, Cambridge | https://bit.ly/2Jj1aWK