Tom Eddy headlined the Tractor last night--his first show since returning from spending much of late 2011 in France--to officially herald the release of his new EP, The Bread Maker's Blues. The five songs on the EP have been recorded with a old-timey vintage quality, but besides the romantic title track, they aren't quite adequately described as "blues"--they're far too lively for that. The wonderful opener, "Welfare," sounds like it could be mistaken for a lost track off of Devendra Banhart's latest album; it and the following track, "Sunday Market/Tear Down," incorporate jumpy Latin-influenced percussion rhythms and lightly strummed guitars alongside the lulling vocals.
The music's inherent vibrancy is made even more obvious live--Eddy himself is unable to keep still while playing the songs; his feet shuffle along, non-stop, with the beat. Last night, Eddy was backed by a four-piece band that included two of his U-District roommates--Beat Connection drummer Jarred Katz, who was reportedly suffering from the flu but showed no signs of fatigue on stage, and the bassist Mark Hunter, who studies jazz performance in bass at UW and spent most of the set gamely picking along on a stand-up bass. One of the set's highlights was the folksy and sparse "Though Mayest," which Eddy performed on his guitar with just Hunter on the bass.
Eddy's songs are mostly simple, unassuming affairs; what bolsters them into something special are his elastic vocal melodies. His lovely, fluent voice is the best instrument on any song he performs on--it easily carries the verses and lends them a sense of delicacy and soul. I remain convinced that his brilliance as a vocalist is one of this city's great mostly hidden secrets. It's not something that should stay hidden for much longer.