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R.D. Thomas – The Way Down is the ultimate road trip song

R.D. Thomas Headlines

Do you know what absolute harmony and serenity feel like? Would you like to know? It will only take 4 minutes and 24 seconds, yet by the end of this track, I guarantee you will be feeling much calmer than before that journey began. This is the new artist project of Richard Thomas – A prolific songwriter, a unique vocalist, intelligent and poetic lyricist, producer and multi-instrumentalist. R.D. Thomas is, of course, a Ben Howard, Blaze of Feather member (with Ben Howard) and Brother & Bones frontman now debuting his solo work and yet it is in his solo work that we really see his true spirit and we hear so much of what has made him well known and well-liked.

Hauntingly melodic yet unexpectedly uplifting we are injected with imagery of driving around on a beautiful sunny day scouring the shoreline for ‘surfable’ waves with the wind in your hair and your buddies by your side. While this isn’t specifically a surfing genre or song, it reminds me of that sense of contentment that you get from being sat on your surfboard out to sea with next to no one around you; that same sense of awe and wonder that you get realising that you are a drop in the giant ocean.

In this song, R.D. Thomas does what R.D Thomas does best; making you feel a deep sense of serenity within from the very first second until the very last, encouraging you slowly but surely like a trusted older sibling to go deep into life. Having had the pleasure of living in the South West of England I can fully identify with its relaxed frequencies and overarching sense of vastness and freedom. He has this inexplicable knack of immediately destroying stress and/or anxiety with a few lines of hypnotic melody.

The track further does this by hitting us with wave after wave of gorgeous guitar hooks right from the beginning which sets the tone beautifully for the rest of the song; abundant with positive melancholy frequencies to make you appreciate life. However, it’s in the chorus that we hear the full strength and depth of his voice. There’s an inescapable sense of inner peace and tranquility that come with R.D Thomas’s smooth, ultra-soothing vocals in a kind of ‘buy one get one free’ type deal; buy one pretty melody and get one inner peace feeling free. Only there’s no need for a deal when it sells itself; his vocals ooze style yet genuineness that resonate deeply with us, the listener.

‘The Way Down’ is the ultimate road trip song; one that is so serene in its delivery it will evoke the strongest memories of the best trip you’ve ever taken. This is a song that, on a summer’s day, will genuinely make you smile knowing that life is good and on a cold winter’s day with a cup of tea will make you feel glad to be indoors by a roaring fire.

R.D. Thomas is London based but originally from the landscapes and light of St. Ives in Cornwall, UK which explains many of the feelings this song evokes as anyone who has been to St. Ives knows the calm, sweet pace of life. Famous for its phenomenal light favoured by so many artists, its one of a kind beautiful atmosphere is not far removed from this song. There is, without a doubt, something very special about St. Ives as there is about this his latest offering.

R.D. Thomas explains the meaning behind the lyrics; “‘The Way Down’ is a sketch of the doomed heroine and her defeat at the hands of her own modesty.” Never is this clearer than in the chorus:

Honey, funny ain’t it honey
How you always lay down
When you’re on the way down

Honey, funny ain’t it honey
How you always stay down
When you’re on the way down

Possibly the rawest part of the song is the authentic sound of him taking his guitar off right at the end. I would never have imagined that there and yet now that I’ve heard it I couldn’t imagine the song ending any other way; the last thing you do on ‘The Way Down’ .

And yet it is the way that R.D Thomas has gone about recording this song that impresses me the most and also explains this ending. As a musician, I know how hard it is to capture the original emotion when you record the song that you had when you first wrote and played it through and yet R.D Thomas has solved that riddle.

Intended as a musical documentary of sorts, each song has been recorded at the moment of its completion, with these first takes also being the final performances heard on the record.

-R.D. Thomas

Referencing the phenomenal EP ‘Headlines‘ that this track hails from, R.D Thomas has ensured that the original emotion is left right there on the recorded track as he intended.

In these times of uncertainty, fear and apprehension from a pandemic sweeping the planet, R.D. Thomas’s song ‘The Way Down’ is the perfect antidote to restore that sense of calm and the reminder that, despite everything that is going on, everything really is going to work out.

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Angelo Vitiello
the authorAngelo Vitiello
Born and raised in London town, deep in the hustle and bustle of city life, Angelo emerged as a Singer/songwriter/guitarist whose music is an eclectic mix of reggae hooks, rocky grooves and soulful melodies. To date he has currently released 4 singles with his trio, an acoustic EP,  commissioned 3 official remixes and released 2 music videos. Angelo is a fully independent artist who has worked with various music PR and Social Media companies and has amassed a solid knowledge base that he wants to share with other independent artists especially those just starting out in the industry, with the hope that he can affect and help facilitate their foray into the music industry for the better.

2 Comments

  • Loved this blog. I always find Springsteen, from his first album to his most recent, always has a gently soothing presence on those long road trips.

  • Awesome! Can’t wait to play these on our next road trip. The interstate travel in Western Australia has just opened up. We’ll be playing them sooner than later!

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