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Reviewed By Michael P. Jones
Bill Bloomer is a guitar-totin' singer-songwriter who has the knack to write and
sing straight "from the heart". With words from his garden of
creativity, this is his debut CD titled "Temple Dogs".
"Temple Dogs" was produced by Robert Brown and features twelve
captivating, and thought-provoking, songs that were written by Bloomer. The CD
clearly reveals the talents of this tunesmith, who has been a finalist in the
"Portland Songwriter Association Annual Competition" twice.
Bloomer is a world traveler who has played his music in a variety of venues.
clubs in Mexico and even in the subways in and parks in France.
These experiences have helped him with his songwriting he said. And, whenever he
needs to, he'll reach back into his recollections and fit these antic dotes into
the words of his tunes.
"Some songs just seem to write themselves" said Bloomer,
matter-of-factly, talking about tunes on his CD such as "If Wishes Were
"Some songs just jump out of the swamps at you," explained Bloomer
further. "Then there are those that you have to pull out by the ears."
Bloomer moved to Portland, Oregon from San Miguel De Allende, in Southern
Mexico. Armed with a 1930 Gibson acoustic guitar (an extremely rare LOD model),
he sought out the necessary nurturing from a friendly environment that all
songwriters need when they start to get real serious about their music. For this
singer-songwriter, the result was "Temple Dogs".
The songs depicted on "Temple Dogs" run the gammet from Bruce Cockburn,
Tom Waits, and the late Steve Goodman, not to mention hints of other notables.
However, some people may even hear Bob Dylan intertwined into the style of
Bloomer, who is actually hard to "pigeon-hole".
"Temple Dogs" is a CD that entices one to seek sustenance in New Folk
music. With words that grip the heart and challenge one's own intention in life,
this is a top-notch project that grapples with creativity at its best.
Interestingly, it wasn't just the singer-songwriter accompanying his superb
songs with his 1930 Gibson guitar, but some very talented friends. Joining
Bloomer on "Temple Dogs" are some of the best musicians from the
Portland Metropolitan Area. Tim Davis was featured on Spanish guitar and
acoustic lap guitar; Jason Noice on rhythm guitar and violin; and Ron Shaffer on
Bloomer even went one step further by having the winners of the "Kerrville
Music Festival" perform on "Temple Dogs". These individuals, who
traveled from Oregon to the State of Texas to take home the honors, added a
special touch of musical class to the CD. On piano and Hammond organ was Dave
Carter; on violin was Tracy Grammer; on acoustic guitar was Eric Hester; on harp
was Paul Summers Jr.; on drums and bass was Mike Damron; Robert Rude on bass and
a variety of guitars; and Ben Wertheimer on hand drum.
In spite of the fact that Bloomer utilized a number of guest musicians, he
thankfully avoided the mistakes that many singer-songwriters tend to make in
recording. "Temple Dogs" did not rely upon the typical studio tricks
of over-tracking and computerization, but retained the necessary "acoustic
lifescape" that he strived for and succeeded in projecting into each and
every song featured on "Temple Dogs".
The tunes of "Temple Dogs" demonstrate Bloomer's talents not only as a
musician, but as a sincere tunesmith. "Xmas in St. Petersburg", "Thinkin'
Bout You", "Little Each Day", and "Tender Loving Ways",
"Starting To Like", and "Yucatan Getaway" are excellent.
"Milltown", "Good Ol' Days", "Phenomenon",
"St. Susanna", and "Temple Dogs" are real standouts. And,
yet, there is something really special about "If Wishes Were Horses"
that should make this most everyone's favorite.
Bloomer's "Temple Dogs" is great treat for music lovers, but he is
also a treat to hear live in person. In 1998 and 1999 he was one of the featured
singer-songwriters at Cascade Geographic Society's "Mount
Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days" and at the "Mount
Hood Salmon & Mushroom Festival".
Two of the songs on "Temple Dogs" have already won awards from the
Portland Songwriters Association's latest national contest. In December of 1998,
he won the Folk/Acoustic category for his song "Milltown", while the
tune "Yucatan Getaway" won the "Country/Americana" category.
"Temple Dogs" is a must for anyone seeking a good CD that provides
thought-provoking listening enjoyment. The CD is for sale from the stage
wherever Bloomer is performing in the Portland, Oregon or other states. In
addition, you can even order it by mail by sending $16.60 (which includes
shipping and handling), directly to: Bill Bloomer, 1809 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.,
Portland, Oregon 97214.
[SPECIAL PERFORMANCE NOTE: Bill Bloomer has performed at the Cascade Geographic
Society's 1998 and 1999 "Mount
Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days", and at the
Society's 1998 and 1999 "Mount
Hood Salmon & Mushroom Festival".]