Saturday, July 10, 2010
Critic Daniel Durchholz described Tom Waits' voice as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car." This description covers Waits' persona and musical subjects: the down-and-out characters and seedy settings, leavened with quirky humor and Beat poetry. In the song "Warm Beer and Cold Women," performed in Denmark in 1976, Waits sets the scene with lovelorn lyrics that take place in "the last ditch attempt saloon." Waits' musical styles encompass ballads, blues, jazz and the avant-garde, and compositions such as "Ol' 55," "Jersey Girl" and "Downtown Train" make him one of the most widely covered contemporary songwriters.