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Thomas Gabriel “Long Way Home”

“Long Way Home” is the debut album released by Thomas Gabriel, in August, 2018. On streaming sites the genre is labeled Country; however that is quite an understatement. You get so much more from this album then your basic Country album, within the songs of this album, you get something more like Southern Gothic, Gospel, and hint of Blues, Rock N’ Roll, and that same darkness that oozes its way through so many Johnny Cash songs, is ever present. Johnny Cash was known as “the man in black” and he brought a sense of understanding that only one who has survived the underbelly of society, could know. You will hear that dark legacy continued in the songs of Gabriel. Gabriel opens up in song, about his life; a life despite being the grandson of a legend that has been far from easy. Gabriel has been down that lonesome road, and he knows, anger, pain, addiction, incarceration, and hopelessness; yet he knows love, redemption, and survival, and “Long Way Home” is his anthem to all of that.

                The instrumentals throughout the album are grittier and Bluesier than your Traditional Country album, and a bit more Rocking. Gabriel’s vocals deliver just enough of a hint of Cash, that it brings you back to the days of “Folsom Prison” but he takes you on a musical journey that is 100% Gabriel. He infuses his own unique elements in each song, which set him apart from his legendary grandfather. In music I do not think we have had anything quite like Cash in Country, Gabriel’s music brings that dark grittiness that would closer compare him to the likes of Lincoln Durham, Nick Cave, or Jack White.  It is extremely refreshing to bring a bit of that “man in black” edginess back to Country music.

                Favorites of mine on the album were “Instant Release” a song wrought with the likes of addiction, heartache, and pain. Gabriel’s vocals are emotional and vulnerable at times, yet the song has a hard driving edge all the same. “Slipping Away” is another song that pulls at your heart strings; the song is a brutal truth for anyone who has struggled with depression, addiction, or emotional pain; a prayer, an outcry for help. The song is heavy in its emotional content; however the music is beautiful and peaceful, and gives a glimmer of hope.  “Never Going Back Down” is a Southern fried Gospel track, with a Rock edge that will get you moving. The song is inspirational; this is your rise above your circumstances, going out to “kick some ass” soundtrack, this is a redemption song. “Long Way Home” the title track, brings me to tears, there is so much truth in this song, for those who have lost a loved one, or who find themselves estranged from their family. It is a song about healing, and forgiveness, and letting go of your differences for the sake of family; a song about finding your way back home.  

                For anyone who seeks truth, beauty, and honesty in Country music; and for anyone who understands the struggles of life; this is illuminated in the songs of Gabriel, and is a must album for anyone who appreciates good, honest music. This is an album which will strike a chord somewhere in your life, and leave you thinking. “Long Way Home” struck many emotional chords with me.

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