With his vast experience and immersion in the music world as a self-taught booking agent, publicist, and damn good singer-songwriter in his own right, Tommy Alexander knows how to draw an audience in.
Alexander’s latest album, Feelings, which dropped at the end of October, offers a firework of bright sonic colors, compositions, and styles in a folk lens. The record was produced by Andrija Tokic at The Bomb Shelter in East Nashville, and released via Fluff & Gravy Records.
Each of the nine songs off of the album tells its own story, compelling listeners with their unique rhythms and introspective looks into the psyche of a modern day music man.
The album’s opening track, “If I Only Knew,” sets the stage for the deep dive into Alexander’s emotional state. A relaxed piano-laden melody allows for his deeply moving vocals to take center stage. The chorus, “If I only knew how to love someone / I’d stop tearing myself apart,” captures the feeling of loving someone else at your own expense, and being blind/naive to the side effects of this love.
Similarly, the title track, “Feelings,” embodies the album’s overall theme of exploring Alexander’s sentimentalities and sensitivities, giving each track its own uniquely transparent feel. This single narrates the struggle of being yourself while remaining part of something much bigger. Alexander explores the notions of self-reflection and self-awareness, voicing the often subtle differences between the two.
Right off the bat with a haunting electric guitar prelude, the track “Silence” offers a brooding, “I Want You” by The Beatles kind of vibe at certain parts. Alexander sings with a self-assured lilt in his voice, accompanied by soulful backup vocals during the chorus, adding more depth. He sings, “Through the eyes of the watcher we witness our own belonging,” a nod to the disconnection of our own lived experiences, often seeing life through someone else’s lens, and does so with a deep and hard hitting semi-psychedelic groove.
“Florida Sun” is more a departure from the heavy themes of self-reflection. Back to care-free vibes, this track has a breezy, daydreamy feel. “We can always afford to have fun,” he sings, as the lyrics tell the story of two lovers “getting wiley in the Florida sun,” just being happy and living life as they please. Comparatively, the track “Backslide” covers the familiar and frustrating feeling of moving backward in storytelling fashion. With the threat of past hardships looming, he finds it difficult to escape and find resolve over a freewheelin’ indie rock groove.
To wrap up Feelings, Alexander offers a very innocent and vulnerable folk feel in “Naked to the World,” about being authentically yourself and feeling disconnected from your own body, relayed in poetic fashion. Perhaps the most raw song on the album, despite the gentle Simon & Garfunkel sound, the first verse tells the somber story of someone passing away in a car wreck after answering their cell phone. Alexander repeats the line, “Health is just an artificial silence / Not sharing, not knowing where you are,” a commentary on the notion that the ambiguous definition of “health” is something we hide behind and something we often take for granted.
Alexander’s Feelings is a relatable, reflective insight into the space between self-awareness and complete confusion. Delivered through rich, soulful vocals and stirring musical accompaniment, each track narrates an expression of emotion, exploring the inherent ups and downs of the human experience of ‘feelings.’