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  • Writer's pictureStevie Connor

U.S. Singer-Songwriter Tom Heyman On Tour With Dan Stuart (Green On Red) To Promote '24th Street Blues' Album

Modern-day San Francisco is stereotypically presented as either a city full of young tech nomads lining up for artisanal coffee, or as a blighted hellscape of fentanyl zombies and street crime. But, on his sixth album, ‘24th Street Blues’, Tom Heyman sings of a more rank-and-file locale, balancing the encroaching darkness of an overdeveloped cityscape with the fragile, abiding beauty of the place he calls home.

Heyman has lived in a sprawling and dilapidated converted-storefront on 24th Street, deep in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, since the turn of the millennium. Detailing observations and interactions from years of struggle living and working in the neighbourhood as it has weathered the storms and aftermath of plutocratic expansion, ‘24th Street Blues’ sounds as much like he has inadvertently followed the Mark Twain credo “Write what you know” as it is a concept piece.

The characters in Heyman’s songs strive to exist (and sometimes perish) under looming cranes that dot the city skyline as he braids timeless narratives with Americana that at times recalls the rusty, boiler-room reverberations of Dylan’s ‘The Basement Tapes’ or the smouldering boogie of JJ Cale, while other moments recall the beautifully sparse melodies of Gordon Lightfoot and the economy of words that were the penchant of John Prine. Over mostly acoustic tapestries, Heyman sings stories of displaced families, endangered bohemians, migrant workers, sidewalk hustlers, surviving musicians, juvenile delinquents, weathered bar workers, junky friends, homeless campers, cannabis farmers and slumlord arsonists.

‘24th Street Blues’ presents a portrait of San Francisco where dues might never be paid in full, but flowers still bloom from the ashes of the digital goldrush. Like any good long-player, its songs work a deep magic on the listener with repeated spins, while Heyman's lyrics take residence in the periphery of the mind like the spectral passages of a Denis Johnson novel. Whether he’s darkening the doors of his district’s many Victorian-styled homes or sharing a drink with a veteran bartender, Heyman has haunted the enduring and evaporating pockets of San Francisco’s heyday long enough to become one of the living ghosts in his own songs.

In addition to his solo work, Heyman has spent years as a sought-after journeyman guitarist and pedal steel player recording and touring with a wide array of artists that include Hiss Golden Messenger, Chuck Prophet, Sonny Smith, Kelley Stoltz, Alejandro Escovedo, John Doe, Roy Loney and Penelope Houston. Indeed, his pedal steel playing is one of the distinct sonic threads woven through much of ‘24th Street Blues’. The album has been produced by Mike Coykendall (M. Ward) and mixed by Scott Hirsch (Hiss Golden Messenger).



13.03.24  BRISTOL Hen & Chicken

14.04.23  HIGH WYCOMBE Kingsmead House Concert

16.03.24  SHEFFIELD Greystones

17.03.24  YORK Rise @ Bluebird

18.03.24  BIRMINGHAM Kitchen Garden Cafe

19.03.24  DURHAM Old Cinema Launderette

20.03.24  LONDON What’s Cookin’ @ Leytonstone Social Club

21.03.24  BRIGHTON Prince Albert

23.03.24  TWYFORD Swiss Cottage



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