Hearing Aide: Tommy Alexander’s ‘Basement Soul’
Jenke Records is a Vermont-based record label started by Tommy Alexander in 2011. For many artists, self-releasing music on a personal label is a matter of maintaining complete creative control. For Alexander, however, the opportunity to run the business side of his music seems to be just as important as the influence that his Burlington label has on its community.
By providing over one hundred donation-based classes per month, a communal recording studio, and a youth outreach program through Jenke, Alexander prioritizes his philanthropic efforts as highly as he does his music.
In his latest release, Basement Soul, the first full-length in Alexander’s solo discography since 2012’s Bogart the Ghost, Alexander focuses on the societal outlook he has developed over the years. Dominated by acoustic guitar and genuine lyricism, the album is filled with a stirring sense of experience and passion.
“Dreams to Dance” opens with a hauntingly fitting musical saw. It sings before two guitars enter the track, followed by Alexander’s vocals. It’s an emotional song, and Alexander delivers the lines, “I’m gonna be your fire / I’m gonna be your flame” as a percussion section builds in the song’s conclusion.
The tracks “Another Man’s Story” and “Nobody’s Cryin’” deal with absent relationships, using string sections and intricate guitar picking to highlight Alexander’s themes.
Basement Soul is truly a solo album. It’s an album that characterizes Alexander’s travels and his past, crafted with the creativity and the control that results in twelve of his finest tracks yet.