Thomas Hinds Releases Knowing, Life-Infused Album Where Do We Go From Here
“Where Do We Go From Here is not only an album: It’s lived experience.”
The latest project Thomas Hinds has released, a full-length album Where Do We Go From Here, is filled with songs that reflect a silver-lined outlook, along with a never give up attitude. Playing shows all over the southeastern states has led Thomas through Muscle Shoals, Alabama on several occasions. After visiting with Spencer Coats, one of the engineers at Fame Recording studios, a game plan was arranged to go in the studio with Fame studio musicians and Brian Emmons with B. Radical Productions with twelve songs waiting to reach their full potential. In the last week of April 2022, six musicians came together in a historic studio and created a collection of stories and sounds that flow effortlessly. True to his blues-based Americana sound, this album brings Thomas to a new level for soundscape and emotional punch, with a timeless feel that only Muscle Shoals can deliver.
“Playing center stage at the Ryman Theater before the remodel and they changed things is my touchstone. Standing where all of the greats originally stood, pushes me to keep doing what I do. I love writing and playing these songs out to a world that needs hope more now than ever. Getting to play Shoals Theater in Florence, Alabama, with the guys who I recorded with is a new watermark for me. Getting a chance to be on stage with Bonnie Raitts’ “Pride and Joy” Mr Will McFarlane, will be something I would never have imagined but couldn’t stop myself from making it happen. This new album Where Do We Go From Here, is the album I have dreamed of making for thirty years, and with hard work and patience, was released on June 30th, 2023”.
Where Do We Go From Here is not only an album: It’s lived experience. Upon first listen, this is apparent. The singer-songwriter has an extremely soulful, unique voice… It’s almost as if Rob Thomas and Americana were sonically smashed together in the most delightful way.
Track 1 “Burning Free” lulls us in with its gentle, melodic marriage between guitar, shaker, and piano. The first words out of his mouth “Welcome to the machine….” speak to the thousands stuck working, a mournful ballad of being just another cog in the machine, calling back to Pink Floyd’s classic song.
Track 2 “The Odds (3000 miles) is a nearly six-and-a-half minute tune where plucky guitar interacts with washes of a rich piano. Thomas Hinds is a poet who pens his multi-faceted life experience. From strawberry suns to freckles on faces in August, he paints us a picture as stunningly clear as any videographer might capture. The final lines of track 2 even have a bit of flute at the end, almost adding a touch of The Left Banke’s Baroque Pop to this Americana sound.
The first half of Where Do We Go From Here details the hopelessness we all face with lines like “You won’t be the first to go crazy, out there on the street” “I heard a whisper like a shotgun blast….” and “You’re just another pretty face gone without a trace…”
This first act of Where Do We Go From Here is also infused with this theme of fire; spanning from “Burning Free” from work to the toxicity of a woman in “Burnout”.
Thomas Hinds creates a one-of-a-kind amalgamation of sounds, with organ lines that are somehow both mellow and wailing alongside flowing streams of steel string slides and fingerpicked guitars. As we near the middle of the album, vocal harmonies become more prevalent, perhaps signifying a shift in perspective.
The second half of the album switches to a much more aqueous theme, with titles mentioning hurricanes and rain. For example, track 5 “Hurricane Waltz” starts with an oceanic choral sound, and unlike the first tracks in the album, the guitar isn’t the star of the show. The disenchantment from earlier is beginning to take its toll with lines like “See I used to know just what I wanted, now the streets all feel haunted” and “You dug deeper than the gates of hell, threw my heart down a wishing well”. Track 6 “Eye of a Heartache” continues this heartbroken feeling with a different sonic approach and timbre.
Track 7 “4:15 (Right on Time)” has a surprising dissonance, with an intro comparable to that of Radiohead- but make it Americana…Whereas “Cumberland Stars” takes the pop-punk theme of never coming back home (but makes it bluesier).
The regret of the “Tangled sheets and empty bottles” of track 9 “Rainy Days” is palpable with lines like “You had secrets on your skin”. Wishing you kissed them harder, held them longer…There isn’t a person on earth who hasn’t felt that feeling at least once. Hinds does a full 180 in the next track “Monsters in Her Mouth” which shows off both Hind’s social awareness and his vocal versatility, going from rich deep baritone to a light falsetto while singing words like…
“She’s an angel with monsters in her mouth
Every morning the sunrise lets them out
She waitin’ for a reason not to rage
It’s the last night she holds an empty page”
The penultimate track “Proof of Life” treats us to a different time signature, giving a lilting sunny feel to the beginning of the end of Where Do We Go From Here. Something has certainly changed, a new awareness has been gained.
“Hold on for some mercy, we’re all just a victim of time”
Finally, the closing title track makes everything settle back down, but in a way that feels like a pleasant sunset…delicate. The instrumentation is a bit different than the rest of the album, with a hand drum, and sparkles of piano.
“Me and my heart, where do we go from here?
Where Do We Go From Here has songs for the heartbroken and songs for the hopeful, songs for mourning the loss of a loved one, and songs to celebrate being alive. After all, what is life besides waking up every day and asking yourself the question…
Where do we go from here?
The album will be available on a beautiful limited edition colored vinyl version by late summer.