« back to article: Toby Thomas Churchill: Death

Page 2

On the CD Churchill is joined by an array of local musicians and even his child Lennon appears in the liner notes. From Sara Softich to his Alrights bandmates Chad Amborn and Danny Cosgrove, “Death” has a variety of styles and something for everyone.

“It wasn't tough,” Churchill said of getting people to join him on the project. “They were receptive, if I thought they wouldn't have been, I wouldn't have asked. As far as Sara and the 10 other people who participated, I threatened their families.”

“My Rock ‘N’ Roll Moves” as an opener is minimal with Churchill singing and playing the guitar without much behind him. The title sounds a bit like a comeback to “Moves Like Jagger,” but Churchill has his own moves now.

At Beaner’s Central last weekend Churchill played many hits off his first solo album, and “Moves” opened his set. With an acoustic guitar crudely fashioned into electric by taping over the center hole he stood up in front of the crowd and exposed his soul.

“Playing solo is a bit lonely,” Churchill said in comparison to performing with The Alrights. “Even when I have folks playing as a backing band it still sort of feels that way. Maybe if I did it a lot more it would feel more like a thing.”

On “Happenstances” Churchill sings, “Oh how I try not to die.” Then he explains in great detail how he attempts to tell his body, “An improvisational biological dance freedom and chaotic subatomic predetermined happenstances.”

I asked Churchill about his fascination with science in his music.

“I love science, empirical data is powerful,” he said. “It's so precise, so sterile and serious. But I think in the case of track two on the record, "Happenstances", it works well to show the limitations. Science, like anything, including religion and spirituality, (in my mind, anyway) falls short when it comes to the only question we really wish we could answer: “What becomes of us when we die?”. A question that makes amateurs of scientists and priests alike. In that sense, our relationship to science is like, "well, I'll be dead soon... hey, while I'm waiting, let's look at my stuff."’

“She’s My Mum” has cool guitar and a Cake or Sublime tone complimented by horns. The horns were played by Alex Nordehn and David Adams. The “What I Got” flares have a more eerie feeling in “Mum,” and some darkness creeps in. There is even a slightly chilling organ chiming in the background giving the song a feeling that Bradley Knoll was dug up and this was a  New Orleans marching band parading though an old French graveyard in Louisiana.