Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
Slo’ Tom combines musical styles on his new album I’m Sick. It’s clear on the first listen that he’s got a punk ethos, hillbilly heart, and is trying out his hand in… scat. As in the poo kind.
At the end of the 12-track album is an early demo song that the man known as Tom Stewart produced many years ago while in the throes of ulcerative colitis, with its unending, unpleasant symptoms. The simple three-chord tune has a weakened Stewart singing descriptively about his symptoms with both misery and levity.
Fifteen years later, Stewart is recovered, but still remembers the after-effects of being painfully ill. He recently came upon the old demo tune and decided to use it as a jumping off point for an entire album dealing with sickness — and not just the physical kind. It’s about being sick of head, sick of heart, sick of it all. As Stewart writes inside the album gatefold:
“The characters in these songs are sick of being broke, sick of being sick and broke, and sick of never being able to see a time in their lives when they won’t be broke and sick.”