By James Calemine
Recorded within a year at David Barbe's Chase Park Transductions Studio in Athens, Georgia, Catch represents William Tonks' latest release. Tonks played in a plethora of Athens bands such as Barbara Cue, The Hot Burritos and Redneck Greece. These 11 songs contain some of Athens' finest musicians such as Bloodkin's Eric Carter, Widespread Panic's Todd Nance and The Drive By Truckers' John Neff.
Tonks plays superior guitar and dobro which makes him a highly sought after musician around town, but Catch features seven of his original compositions. Tonks renders a great version of Lowell George's "20 Million Things" as the opening track.
"Mountains of Trust" proves a laid back number with evidence of Tonks' strong song construction. Tonks plays so often with John Neff, that their combination of haunting- midnight pedal steel and front-porch dobro sounds like some telepathic musical weaving in a subconcious tapestry.
Next, Tonks covers a smooth version of Randy Newman's "Jolly Coppers On Parade". "Cookie" proves a classic instrumental that would make Ronnie Wood proud. "Your Brain Remains", a song composed with another Athens songwriter, Jack Logan, ignites some brilliant flicker in a dark tale of some downtrodden, unknown soul.
Tonks' "Closeup" defies musical categories because the dobro conjures the blues, Neff's pedal steel country and the narrative appeals to any walk of life. Leon Russell's "Mad Dogs And Englishmen" comes off in fine fashion and serves as undeniable testimony to Tonks' vocal talent.
"Back to Town", a Barbara Cue song, verifies Tonks ability to lead a band...there's a real back-water swamp feel on this one. Another Jack Logan/Tonks tune, "Uncomfortable" brings to mind Jimmie Rodgers in a lonely echo of the dobro...like some fading train rolling down the track.
Catch's closer, an original instrumental--"Snow Hill"-- features Tonks' deft dobro playing on this dreamlike song. Catch proves why William Tonks remains one of Athens, Georgia's best kept secrets...until now.