Justin Dean Thomas
Oh, Justin Dean Thomas... I am so glad that I stumbled upon your incredible, timeless sound. I was driving home one day in one of those moods where you are wondering if you might just keep driving, and driving until you reach the border... and then, Standing in the Door by Justin Dean Thomas came on my playlist. So, I did keep driving, and driving, only now it was much more intentional. After hearing this song, I was so enamored with his sound and needed more.
Unfortunately, this artist has a grand total of 5 songs on Spotify (which are all fantastic) but I worked my way through them fairly quickly. Moving to Soundcloud, I was very happy to see that he had a few more tracks available. Standing In The Door is by far his most played song, and this might have something to do with it being featured in a James Franco film called The Color of Time. I must say, it is my favorite as well, but I am also quite taken with No One Knows. Both of these tracks have a very unique sound that spoke to me immediately. I am not surprised that the first was chosen for a soundtrack as it feels very cinematic with it's serious yet romantic, old-school vibe.
Originally from Boston, but now living in NYC, Justin has a noticeable east coast influence in his music, as well as a bit of a twangy/southern sound in some of his songs, interestingly enough. His most recent release, You've Had Your Fun, has a bit of a different feel than the other two. It seems to be very inspired by the great Bob Dylan with it's folky finger-picking and the way Thomas sings with a hint of sadness in his voice. Similar to the other tracks, the lyrics he chooses perfectly match the tone of the music that feels very familiar with it's classic sound while still managing to stand out with a unique and interesting spin.
Aside from his voice, which sounds sort of like rough honey, Thomas has such a way with words. His lyrics are well-thought-out, deep, and flow beautifully. This is why I was not surprised to read that he in fact writes poetry aside from song lyrics. One of my favorite lines of his from Standing In The Door is
"Oh that summer sting.
Traveling in the night, making copper rings
Yes, that needle's swoon
Caught with just a glance perfected by a spoon."
That certainly sounds like a great poem on it's own and it's only a few lines from a song. If you think you're in love now, wait until you hear him sing it.
If you favor a harder rock n' roll ballad, you can throw on Anytime I'm Feelin, which has a more full, punk sound. It's a little crazy to think that a single artist can be described as romantic, folky, twangy, serious, classical, and rebelliously punk, all in the same breath, but he surely can be. This song will have you feeling like you're telling someone off, all the while jamming to a wonderfully composed song. After all, Justin Dean Thomas did have a somewhat gritty punk band called The Bowery Riots (check them out too, you won't regret it) before he ventured off on his own to create the individualistic music I've been raving about.
He has not yet released a full album, but he is said to be working on one currently. I am having a hard time getting over the fact that he can trigger such a classic sound while still managing to put his own spin on it. Not to mention, Justin not only creates great music, he also discovers it. He has a playlist called Train Dreams, which I listened to for a couple of days straight and was very impressed with. Aside from his amazing talent, he can spot a great sound from a mile away. Perhaps, this is why he is so wonderful himself.
He has the style, the passion, the talent.... sure, his sound is very similar to some of our favorite musicians from the 60's-70's... but he is doing it now. Be sure to check out my favorites by this artist on my Top Picks page.