German singer/songwriter Tommy Ocean is a powerfully understated artist who is profoundly inspired by the classic American songsmiths and folk singers. He has been building a brand and following over the last few years for his beautifully simple and emotive original songs that he records live and solo. Ocean has a new record, Nobot, that will drop July 26th, 2019 on Mingle Records and will be available via CD Baby. Anyone who has followed Ocean’s career will be able to hear his creative evolution in every cut and he is clearly refining his skills and vision.
Making a record with nothing but acoustic guitar and vocals is a daunting task and depends 100% on the quality of the songs involved. Tommy Ocean seems to be blessed with the ability to make this minimalistic format work over and over, however, and his songs feel complete just as they are. “Tell Me” is an introspective mid-tempo number that features Ocean’s strong strum attack, mournful harmonica, and clean, emotional voice. “Revolution” is a bit of social commentary done in hushed tones that make you pull closer and listen. Tommy Ocean doesn’t rage here so much as persuade, even though he delivers his message of change in clear, direct language.
“Sometimes” is a delicate fingerstyle ballad about how endings are often beginnings and is one of the best moments on Nobot. It suits Tommy well and makes his low-key vocal style shine. It also adds a meaningful quality to the lyrics, which are poignant and wise. A little Dylan-esque harmonica gives the track the only decoration it needs. Each song on the album has its own particular charms but some other can’t-miss cuts include “El Viento,” “Spring Song,” and the closing song “Meet Me In The Waters.”
Nobot is ten songs of well-executed human culture and entertainment that goes down well in a single listen. It has a warm, late-night vibe to it that will make you want to keep it in your regular rotation. Tommy Ocean is growing rapidly as a recording artist and offers fans a subtle-but-compelling musical experience.