Chicago rock vet Thomas Comerford’s new album Blood Moon was worth the four-year wait | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicago rock vet Thomas Comerford’s new album Blood Moon was worth the four-year wait


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Thomas Comerford­ is a devoted student of rock music who takes his own contributions to the form as seriously as its rich history. He operates with meticulous detail and patience, which might explain why it’s been four years since his last release, the 2014 album II. Since then, he’s expanded his pool of collaborators, and through extensive studio sessions and live performances leading up to his new Blood Moon, he’s developed more sophisticated arrangements than ever. Sixteen musicians play on the album’s eight tracks, but Comerford’s vision enables them to produce a unified sound that harks back to 70s rock, gliding over neat strumming and propelled by a patient rhythm section. The music conveys an attractively loose sensibility, yet every note feels carefully placed. Opener “Lord of the Flies,” a poetic expression of undying love and support, is a stunner, with John Lennox providing shimmering electric-guitar accents that sail over the groove with liquid elegance as Comerford’s plaintive singing is met by the intricate, soulful vocal harmonies of Crystal Hartford, Angela James, and Beth Yates in a call-and-response style that recalls late-70s Dylan at his best. Amalea Tshilds’s vocals serve as a crucial sweetener to Comerford’s parched singing on “Stumblebum,” a testimony to stubborn hope. “Lull” embraces a looser, more improvisatory feel, with elastic double bass lines played by Tatsu Aoki and rambling lead guitar from Gregg Ostrom that suggests a bucolic Lou Reed. Tonight Comerford performs with some of his recurrent collaborators including Lennox, bassist Chris Ruptash, drummer Seth Vanek, and singers James and Ariel Bolles.   v

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