Shoulders of Giants: Shoulders of Giants

Brad Hammonds has been performing as a solo artist for a while now and as part of the duo known as Brazz Tree. Coming off his first solo release, Hammonds partnered up with New York singer and guitarist Tom Crowley to form Shoulders of Giants and released their self titled album last July.
The focus of the album is two acoustic guitars, but the group does use accompanying instruments like double bass, drums, and surprisingly a cello complete the group. The result is quite uplifting.
The music is bluesy folk reminiscent of female acts like The Murmurs, Ani DiFranco, and early Jewel. Acoustic guitars, not always with a backing band, and powerful voices are what these women were known for. Shoulders of Giants are like the male version of these artists.
Hammonds and Crowley play well together, each quite a talent on the guitar. Crowley’s voice is one of the best I’ve heard; he seems to have a natural gift for singing as when he does it appears to be effortless. You pick up on it right from the opening track “Code of a Mad Man” but it is best displayed on “She’s in Love”.
All the songs were written by Hammonds but “She’s in Love” was co-arranged by Crowley. Perhaps that’s why Crowley takes more command of it than the others. On top of the singing, the song is very well done with the guitars taking off on bluesy trails and the cello intermingling with them. Most surprising is the way the song comes together without one amp. I’ve become accustomed to a blues guitarist having his or her way with an electric guitar; Crowley and Hammonds do it unplugged.
Overall, Shoulders of Giants is a very good album. You have a talented singer, talented musicians, and minimal tricks on production to cover up any weaknesses. The songs aren’t always the cheeriest, but they do make you feel good. They’ll inspire you, as well. And that’s what real art is supposed to do. It makes you think, and gives you ideas.
Rating: 6.7/10
MP3: Shoulders of Giants “She’s in Love”
Buy: iTunes