Tucker Theodore is another brand new addition to the Ball of Wax fold (although he did previously appear on Volume 21 as a member of the dear, departed These Creatures). Tucker was referred to me by the same Friend of BoW who sent Joseph Allen Beltram my way, and despite their stark differences, the two artists seem to me like two sides of the same coin. The core elements of both of their contributions to this volume are the same – acoustic guitar, a man’s voice, some slide guitar – but the differences between the two provide a perfect illustration of how much you can do with so little. From songwriting to production to performance, “Thoughts and Chain” couldn’t be more different from “Meditation in D.” Where Beltram’s tune provides blurred edges to soothe and warm while its constant strumming propels you forward, “Thoughts and Chain” gives us hard corners and open spaces. The minimally picked acoustic guitar, later replaced by sludgy electric, distorted vocals and blown-out drums; the song draws you in, puts you on edge, and then smacks you upside the head. In the best possible way, of course.
Tucker’s band Nightlife will be another act at the Ball of Wax 39 show who’s not technically on the CD. Whereas Shannon Jae splintered off from Spit Shine and will be performing solo, Tucker Theodore has fleshed out his solo project with some collaborators, and will likely be delivering quite a ruckus to Conor Byrne next Saturday.