Looking for the Moon is the first new solo studio CD for adults since 1994 by one of the great folksingers and songwriters of this century, Tom Paxton. In a career entering its fifth decade, Tom Paxton has recorded over 40 albums and created a body of incisive, heartfelt and universally relevant songs that have been covered by artists ranging from Pete Seeger to Placido Domingo to Willie Nelson. “The Last Thing on My Mind,” “Ramblin’ Boy,” “Whose Garden Was This?,” “The Marvelous Toy” and “Bottle of Wine” are only a few of the Paxton compositions that have become modern folk and topical standards.
Maintaining a triple career as a songwriter/performer for both grown-ups and children and as a writer of children’s books, Paxton has linked the generations of the early ’60 Greenwich Village folk era and today’s videogame-hypnotized youngsters. His most recent recordings were his award-winning Under American Skies duo CD with frequent collaborator Anne Hills, released by Appleseed in 2001, which revived some of the finest topical and timeless songs of the last forty years, and last year’s CD for kids, Your Shoes, My Shoes.
On Looking for the Moon, Paxton presents thirteen original songs emphasizing personal themes that reflect modern day life and the current cultural climate. Many compositions concern the inevitable but insidious march of progress and aging and their effect on average citizens. “The Chisholm Trail became the road to Disneyland,” rues Tom in his modern day cowboy song, “My Pony Knows the Way.” Small communities crumble beneath economic hard times in “Early Snow” and “My Oklahoma Lullaby.” Nature’s curative powers are given their due in “My River” and “Come Away with Me,” and the tides of love carry the tender “Me and a Couple of Angels,” “Easy Now, Easy,” and “Marry Me Again.” “Homebound Train” is a heartbreakingly poignant story of a ten-year-old boy coping with the death of his father.
An early version of the CD’s most topical song is a computer-age hit as the number one most downloaded song – for free –on the efolkmusic.com website – “The Bravest” is Tom’s tribute to the heroes of last year’s 9/11 terrorist attacks, the firemen who risked (and lost) their lives in their rescue efforts at the stricken World Trade Center.
Like Paxton’s last two “grown-up” solo records, Looking for the Moon was produced by veteran producer and musician Jim Rooney, who has also produced CDs for John Prine and Nanci Griffith, the latter of whom adds backing vocals to two tracks here. Anne Hills also adds beautiful soprano vocals behind Tom on five songs. Other supporting musicians include Al Perkins (previously of Emmylou Harris’s Nash Ramblers and the Flying Burrito Brothers) on Dobro, acoustic guitarist Mark Howard, who has backed Iris Dement, Nanci Griffith and John Hartford, pianist Mark Wasner, who has written hits for Vince Gill and Garth Brooks, and relative newcomer Tim Crouch, adding to the Nashville-recorded CD’s country tinges with his nimble mandolin and fiddle.
Reviews"[His] songs are so powerful and lyrical, written from the heart and the conscience, and they reach their mark, our innermost being. “ Judy Collins