CMJ Record Review
It's true - "Which Excludes You," from The Door, the Gutter, the Grave, was up on CMJ.com as their Freeload download of the day on Dec. 3, 2007. Here is the review...
The Door, the Gutter, the Grave
TOM SCHRAEDER AND HIS EGO: The Door, The Gutter, The Grave
By Emily Youssef
Americana singer/songwriter Tom Schraeder scored one of the biggest gigs a musician could hope for—Lollapalooza!—before even releasing an official album. Luck? Probably. But this Chicagoan's voice is confident beyond his 23 years, as proven by this, his debut EP, which is a largely uplifting review of heartache. And with a 10-member fluctuating cast of collaborating musicians, who dip in and out on guitar and cello, washboard and hand saw, there's actually little room for ego. The molasses-tinged "Porcelain Doll" and "Easy Way To Cry" are slow and sweet, both evoking memories of past relationships gone awry. Schraeder's is a down-home, down-to-earth songwriting style, the kind that encourages arm-in-arm barroom sing-alongs, even among strangers. The untrained ear may hear his happily drunk "Whiskey Song," which is set against a backdrop of clinking glasses and rowdy voices, as similar to Ryan Adams' "The Bar Is A Beautiful Place." It's far less corny, though, and its songwriting is more earnest, more adventurous. "When the whiskey don't do the job... I guess that means the last resort is you," he sings. Sometimes it just feels good to feel this bad.