Thomm Jutz is a songwriting fury. He spins historical tales as reflected in the mind of a deeply insightful observer who, though foreign born, has always found his soul belonging to the American Southland.
Together with Mountain Home Music Company, Jutz is releasing a large body of collected songs that will consist of two complete volumes under the apt title, To Live In Two Worlds, of which this is the first. The collection is unique in that it showcases Jutz’s diverse talents.
“I wanted to make another bluegrass record but I also wanted to make a ‘true’ solo record, with just me singing and playing. So I did both,” Jutz said. “The players on these records are my dream team, and I love how the band and solo tracks correspond on these two volumes. From a songwriter’s perspective I feel that this is my best work yet. I’ve found my place with ‘one foot in a different world and one foot here today.’”
In this collection we find the stories of rambling vagabond musicians, the hard life of mill workers, tragic Civil War characters both real and imagined, semi-forgotten regional legends and new stories of more recent real-life dramas and tragedies that will be tomorrow’s parables.
“Mill Town Blues,” an up-tempo story of early country music pioneer Charlie Poole and his band roaring through the Carolinas, was the project’s first single, earning Jutz national radio success with the song’s consistent top-20 Bluegrass charting. Other characters from the golden age of early roots music appear throughout the collection. The Father of Country Music gets a simpatico biographical sketch in “Jimmie Rodgers Rode A Train,” while “I Long to Hear Them Testify” celebrates the lives of country blues troubadours Blind WIllie McTell and Skip James. Still more Depression-era figures like Blind Alfred Reed are acknowledged in the song that borrows his name for its title, and “Hartford’s Bend” honors the more contemporary, yet supremely nostalgic river boat captain and bluegrass pioneer, John Hartford.
Other selections give meaningful tellings of tragic and inspiring adventures in southern Appalachia, like the historic conflict of “Shelton Laurel Valley” that left a community scarred from the injuries of the Civil War, and “Where the Bluebirds Call,” which envisions the journey of song collector Cecil Sharp.
The legendary Tom T. Hall has said about Thomm, “For years I have hoped that some young man would get off the bus in Nashville with a guitar wrapped in a cellophane dry cleaning bag and bring something new and exciting to the music scene. I know that songwriters and singers don't ride buses anymore unless they own them. As an old songwriter myself, I am pleased that one of my wishes has come true. Thomm Jutz is in town and the town is all the better for it.”