By Vijith Assar
At times, Peyton Tochterman’s new album really doesn’t even sound like a Peyton Tochterman album. This would be sort of an odd thing to suggest for any musician, but especially so with the Charlottesville-based Tochterman, since he’s inhabited a pretty wide variety of folk-oriented personas over the years – first as a member of the bluegrass trio Fair Weather Bums, and then a solo songwriter on The Personals, and most recently as the figurehead of High Society, an all-star backing band that would inject blistering jazz solos into his vaguely traditional songs.
Those all somehow still felt thematically unified, but the classic rocker’s voice he slips into with this record really seems like an entirely new direction. Squash the nonsense about coherent artistic identity right away and get on board with this, because he has several of those more idiosyncratic records out already, and it’s a great look. All over the place, an endearingly Springsteeny grit creeps up and dukes it out with Tochterman’s own distinctive growl, which usually holds its own in the end. “Johnsburg” also sounds a bit like an older John Mellencamp recalling a lost love from his younger days as John Cougar.
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