I had heard that Tommy Roe had ‘un-retired’. With a bunch of top 10 hits back in the 60’s I assumed that his ‘un-retirement’ signaled the fact that he would once again be wowing the crowds with Sweet Pea and Dizzy. Tommy was the king of Bubblegum Pop, the young girls of the time loved him, I know this because I happen to be married to one who was in his fan club!

Of course I was wrong. While Tommy Roe is still playing Sweet Pea and Dizzy, Devils Soul Pile is a far cry from Bubblegum Pop, it is a very grown up album. The songs are well crafted and executed superbly.

There is little doubt in my mind that the cornerstone to the album is the title track Devils Soul Pile, this one single track has more power in it than a 1000 Mack Trucks. Tommy Roe has this comment about it:

The song is a departure from my normal and expected style, and one that tells the story of dysfunctional families, and the effect it has on our youth and our neighborhoods. Lyrically, this song is a bit serious, and was inspired by the everyday news of violence in our neighborhoods and cities. But a song that ends with a message of hope

Actually many of the tracks offer some social commentary. The 2010’s are a far cry from the 1960’s. A lot changes in 50 years! Music genres come and go, but great music and great musicians are able to weather the storm of change. In some ways it is a tightrope act, you must find a balance between both old and new. I have yet to see his new live set with my own eyes, but one of his band members Rick Levy tells me that the set is indeed a great balance of old and new. Here is a brief clip from a recent concert.

Another outstanding track on the CD that deserves special mention is Water Underneath My Burning Bridge. It is a great example of Tommy Roe’s outstanding songwriting abilities.

Tommy Roe has a large and loyal fan base, Devils Soul Pile can do nothing but increase that. I suspect that Tommy will find a whole new generation discovering his music.

It has been quite some length of time since Tommy Roe released a CD of new material, but it has been well worth the wait. I give Devils Soul Pile very high marks indeed.

Simon Barrett

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