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Cirque Du Soleil
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"American Pie"
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Rising Stars [Issue #11]
Tom McRae: Gloom Amidst Sunshine
By Lynne Bronstein
Just Like Blood (CD Nettwerk)


“Coming from England, I thought that anywhere the sun shone would be heaven for me,” says Tom McRae. “But it turned into my own personal hell.” Sunshine wasn’t good inspiration for McRae’s darkly philosophical songs. “I threw curtains over the windows, pulled a duvet over my head, struck a match, and lit a candle.”

Tom McRae may be into doom and gloom but his career prospects are bright right now, with the release of his second album, Just Like Blood, on Nettwerk Records. Already known in Europe, McRae has been building acclaim Stateside via frequent airplay on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and appearances at Los Angeles’ Hotel Café. He’ll be touring in support of Just Like Blood over the next few months, after which he’ll return to LA to mix a recently recorded third album.

A former student of politics, McRae dabbled in various bands until he realized it would be better to go solo (“The only person that was willing to work with me was me!”). Things happened quickly for him after that, with his first, self-titled album making its debut in 2001. Unfortunately, the release date was September 11, which marred the album’s chances of making an impact in the States.

“The first single from that album was called ‘The End of the World News,’” notes McRae. “So as you can imagine, a lot of people weren’t going to play that song. But there’s more important things in life than your album breaking big.”

While he enjoyed success in Britain and on the Continent, McRae did not give up on conquering America. He played small club gigs and appeared on late-night TV shows. But airplay on KCRW gave him his biggest boost.

“I owe him my first-born!” McRae says of KCRW DJ Nic Harcourt. “It’s strange - you hope that your music connects with people but rarely does it connect with someone who’s in a position to do something to help you.” With his reputation growing, McRae was able to get Just Like Blood released in the US, after it had been held up by record company infighting.

What about the album’s frequent use of blood and water as images?

“I’m interested in imagery,” says McRae. “The most important liquids coursing through the body are blood and water. Blood has come to represent my passions, my family, my anger - everything. It seemed appropriate for the title.”


Just Like Blood
Nettwerk

Gloom Amidst Sunshine Tom McRae Just Like Blood


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