Tom Sless | Randex Communications

Tom Sless

Tom Sless

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Bio

Like Steve Earle, TOM SLESS displays bracing honesty in his songwriting, and like Jason Isbell, Sless has a knack for creating a world in which our souls struggle to define themselves. With ceaseless creativity, an ear for the just-right melody and lyric, and with a passion for song, the singer, songwriter, and guitar slinger writes songs and produces music that evoke his disappointments, hopes, joys, and loves. With a vibe that alternates between the celebratory country rock of Luke Combs, the nod-and-a-wink humor of Sturgill Simpson, and the rough-hewn folksiness of Donovan Woods, Sless carries us along with him on a soulful ride down the winding roads of life and love on his first album, California Dream.

Through canny lyrics and infectious tunes, California Dream captures Sless's love of LA, the highs and lows of his decision to move there from the East Coast after college, and his struggles to embrace the past and to move forward. Sless shares his passion for performing by recording the album live. "We played these songs live in the room and had everyone together. Most of the vocals were recorded in one room with the band, and the songs were recorded in one take. We did it all in one week: eight songs in five days. I wanted it to have the feel of a live performance."

California Dream, which Sless co-produced with John Bottrell (Christina Perri, Mike Posner), kicks off with the title track, a Springsteen-like tune, with sparse piano chords and trills reminiscent of "Jungleland" in the opening measures that blossom into a richly layered sound in which the vocals and instruments spiral higher and higher into a cascading chorus proclaiming "I thank God for my California dream." The ever-ascending chords mimic the hopes and dreams of the lyrics. The rollicking country rocker "Taking Me Back" delivers a good times vibe like Combs' songs. It rides along a scampering pedal steel guitar as the singer declares "I don't want to be alone tonight/but I can't stay here with you/It hasn't been easy to swallow all that truth/It hasn't been easy taking me back from you." The sunny sound of the song belies its emotional complexity. "Although we may want to divorce ourselves from who we once were as we chart a new path," says Sless, "the people we are today is permanently colored by the experiences we had in the past." Yet, like the acoustic guitar that drives the song, we all keep chugging along, even as we "swallow all that truth."

The shimmering pop-inflected "Astronaut," with its rowdy country-folk chorus, and propelled by searing guitars on the bridge, urges us never to regret the past, but to let go of it and reach out and embrace what you're supposed to do. Sless says the southern rocker "Ready To" - featuring vocals that recall James Taylor's - "is about fully embracing the challenge and passion of what I want to be - a singer and songwriter - and embracing the struggle." The minor chord "Why Oh Why" is, according to Sless, "the dark spot in the album thematically. I wrote it just after the recent Thousand Oaks shooting, and the fires that happened afterward. It explores the dichotomy of choice and fate." The country crooner "Coming Home," on which he channels Darius Rucker, celebrates a moment of togetherness, while the guitar-driven "Gimme the Breeze," celebrates "the breeze that's the little lift to get you where you need," according to Sless. He taps into his jam band influences on the album's closing song, "Too Much on My Mind," a looping, Grateful Dead-like, exploration of a musical theme driven by the pedal steel of - no relation - Barry Sless (Phil Lesh, Chris Robinson).

The path to California Dream wasn't always a smooth one, but Sless knew music would be a big part of his life, and he's never let it out of his sight. The Jersey Shore native moved around a bit when he was young, spending his teens in Baltimore. But no matter where he went, he always had the music in him. As soon as he could walk, he picked up every musical instrument he could find. He eventually took up trumpet in elementary school and then guitar, piano and voice.

As he explored each instrument, Sless started composing music. During middle school, he wrote pieces arranged for orchestra, marching band, jazz band, and string and brass sectionals. "What I loved most about playing in the band and orchestra was paying attention to and understanding the relationship between all of the different elements in each piece, and how they all worked together to produce this beautiful sonic result." When his parents introduced him to the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty, Sless started a journey down a new musical path.

He took quickly to his first guitar, an old acoustic he got from his grandfather at the shore in Atlantic City. All the while, Sless continued to compose and write. "My parents bought me this encyclopedic book that had scores for every single song the Beatles wrote. Looking at that book I could see how McCartney's vocals complemented Harrison's guitar. Studying that book was the crossover that bridged the classical world and the rock universe for me." Working so closely with those songs unlocked the songwriter Sless has become today.

Six years ago, Sless moved to LA. "I didn't know what it was, but I felt like LA was the place where my heart would find itself and things would happen for me in life." The plan to move across the country was not strictly based on the idea of making music right away, but Sless knew he needed music to be a big part of his life. In 2018, he enrolled in the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Over the past two years, he's quickly become a fixture on the Los Angeles singer-songwriter circuit, performing at The Mint, El Cid, The Study, TRiP Santa Monica, and NorthEnd Hollywood, to name a few. "I decided to pour my heart and soul into music in a way that I hadn't before. I really started engrossing myself into songwriting and taking a new approach to the music I'd been listening to all my life."

Tom Sless loves the journey he's been on, and California Dream gives him the chance to share his outlook on life. "This album came out when it did," he says, "in part because it's a huge part of my building up to a realization of myself." Sless's insightful lyrics and catchy tunes are all about "breaking free of what is happening now, creating your own mindset, and letting yourself go into what makes you feel free, and what you are passionate about." Tom Sless gets our attention with his music and carries us along on his journey.

Press Releases

March 26, 2020
OUT TOMORROW! AMERICANA ARTIST TOM SLESS REALIZES 'CALIFORNIA DREAM' WITH ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM: Live Streaming Interactive Web Series, California Dream: Melodies and Remedies, Launches April 8 with Special Guests, Live Performances, Under-the-Hood Discussions, Self-Help Audience Participation, More!

Debut album surveys soulful ride down the winding roads of life and love from Jersey Shore and Baltimore roots to Los Angeles with celebratory country rock, nod-and-a-wink humor, and rough-hewn folksiness.

"There's a wealth of good musical touches [with] style & a commercial charm that's not too sweet. ... [T]he superb rollicking 'Gimme the Breeze' [is] worth the price of the CD. ... Energetic & rocking. ... Sweet & dynamic. ... Excellent lyrical imagery." - Americana Highways

LOS ANGELES (March 26, 2020) - LA based Americana singer-songwriter-guitar slinger TOM SLESS is set to release his debut full-length album, California Dream, TOMORROW (March 27, 2020) on Marina Vista Records, followed by the celebratory launch April 8 of the live streaming interactive web series, California Dream: Melodies and Remedies.

Co-produced by the Jersey Shore native with John Bottrell (Christina Perri, Mike Posner) and recorded live in the studio at comp-ny in Glendale, CA, California Dream is being hailed by Americana Highways for its "wealth of good musical touches [with] style & a commercial charm that's not too sweet." Exclusive Magazine says Sless "immediately gets our attention, and as we progress, his musical messages carry us along on his rich journey."

California Dream carries us along Sless's soulful ride down the winding roads of life and love with a vibe that alternates between the celebratory country rock of Luke Combs, the nod-and-a-wink humor of Sturgill Simpson, and the rough-hewn folksiness of Donovan Woods.

Through canny lyrics and infectious tunes, the album captures Sless's love of LA, the highs and lows of his decision to move there from the Baltimore area after college, and his struggles to embrace the past and push forward. Like Steve Earle, Sless displays bracing honesty in his songwriting, and like Jason Isbell, has a knack for creating a world in which our souls struggle to define themselves. With ceaseless creativity, Sless possesses an ear for the just-right melody and lyric, and a passion for songs that evoke his disappointments, hopes, joys, and loves.

The new interactive web series, California Dream: Melodies and Remedies, will debut Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. Pacific/10 p.m. Eastern on Instagram Live at www.instagram.com/tomsless with on-demand availability at www.soundcloud.com/tomsless.

The series includes under-the-hood discussions of the inspiration for that week's featured song from the new album, an interview with a key contributor to the song's production, and an audience-Q&A round table focused on self-help strategies applicable to the pandemic, such as dealing with anxiety, maintaining motivation, and "finding joy in the little things."

"As I was writing these songs, I felt I was almost giving myself advice through my lyrics, and the process has become especially relevant in the context of this pandemic," says Sless. "I was dealing with uncertainty and anxiety, searching for ways to keep me level-headed and motivated, and avoid discouragement. By committing to good habits and positive outlooks, and putting them to song, these guiding principles gained extra weight and meaning. My goal with my new web series is to open a conversation around these best practices and letting my fans in deeper to my own struggles with adversity. In addition to the live performances, it's a forum for everyone to contribute what works for them and what doesn't, to hopefully give anyone who tunes in a chance to take away some ideas for how to deal with their own anxieties, especially in these difficult times."

"Taking Me Back," the first single on California Dream, is a rollicking country rocker that delivers a Combs-like good times vibe, riding along a scampering pedal steel guitar as the singer declares "I don't want to be alone tonight/but I can't stay here with you/It hasn't been easy to swallow all that truth/It hasn't been easy taking me back from you." The sunny sound of the song belies its emotional complexity. The guitar-driven "Gimme the Breeze" celebrating "the breeze that's the little lift to get you where you need," says Sless, was wildly touted by Americana Highways for being "worth the price of the CD" as a "superb rollicking" number that's "energetic & rocking." The title track, a Springsteen-like tune with sparse piano chords and trills reminiscent of "Jungleland" in the opening measures that blossom into a richly layered sound, features vocals and instruments spiraling higher into an ever-cascading chorus that mimics the hopes and dreams of the lyrics. The shimmering pop-inflected "Astronaut," with its rowdy country-folk chorus, and propelled by searing guitars on the bridge, urges us never to regret the past, but to let go of it and reach out and embrace what you're supposed to do. The southern rocker "Ready To" - featuring vocals that recall James Taylor's - is about fully embracing the challenge, passion, and struggle of being a singer-songwriter. The minor chord "Why Oh Why" is the album's thematic dark spot; written as a reaction to the recent Thousand Oaks shooting, and the fires that followed, exploring the dichotomy of choice and fate. The country crooner "Coming Home," on which he channels Darius Rucker, celebrates a moment of togetherness. Sless taps into his jam band influences on the closing number, "Too Much on My Mind," a looping, Grateful Dead-like, exploration of a musical theme driven by the pedal steel of - no relation - Barry Sless (Phil Lesh, Chris Robinson).

Six years ago, Sless moved across the country to Los Angeles. After realizing he needed to pour his heart and soul into music in a way that he never had before, Sless delved deep into songwriting with a new approach to the music he'd been listening to all his life. In 2018, he enrolled in the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and quickly became a fixture on the Los Angeles singer-songwriter circuit, performing at The Mint, El Cid, The Study, TRiP Santa Monica, and NorthEnd Hollywood, to name a few.

Sless is planning album release events on the West Coast and East Coast in support of California Dream. Confirmed dates will be announced once the live music terrain gets more clearly defined.

"This album is a huge step toward a realization of myself as an individual and a creative artist," he says. "It's a jumping off point into a world in which I can fully express myself as a human being. There truly is no better feeling."

CALIFORNIA DREAM Track Listing:

California Dream
Taking Me Back
Astronaut
Ready To
Why Oh Why
Coming Home
Gimme the Breeze
Too Much On My Mind

Genre: Americana

RIYL: Luke Combs, Sturgill Simpson, Donovan Woods, Jason Isbell, Steve Earle, Darius Rucker

February 20, 2020
'CALIFORNIA DREAM' COMES TRUE FOR AMERICANA SINGER-SONGWRITER TOM SLESS ON MARCH 27

Debut album surveys soulful ride down the winding roads of life and love from Jersey Shore and Baltimore roots to Los Angeles with celebratory country rock, nod-and-a-wink humor, and rough-hewn folksiness.

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 20, 2020) - LA based Americana singer-songwriter-guitar slinger TOM SLESS is set to release his debut full-length album, California Dream, March 27, 2020 on Marina Vista Records.

Co-produced by the Jersey Shore native with John Bottrell (Christina Perri, Mike Posner) and recorded live in the studio at comp-ny in Glendale, CA, California Dream carries us along Sless's soulful ride down the winding roads of life and love with a vibe that alternates between the celebratory country rock of Luke Combs, the nod-and-a-wink humor of Sturgill Simpson, and the rough-hewn folksiness of Donovan Woods.

Through canny lyrics and infectious tunes, the album captures Sless's love of LA, the highs and lows of his decision to move there from the Baltimore area after college, and his struggles to embrace the past and push forward. Like Steve Earle, Sless displays bracing honesty in his songwriting, and like Jason Isbell, has a knack for creating a world in which our souls struggle to define themselves. With ceaseless creativity, Sless possesses an ear for the just-right melody and lyric, and a passion for songs that evoke his disappointments, hopes, joys, and loves.

"There's a thread from song to song that takes you on my journey, through different realizations and focal points of my experiences," says Sless. "I set out to create something that reminded me of classic albums, where there was a distinct feel and thread tying all the songs together. In today's streaming world, the trend seems to be for artists to release singles independently from one another, and then string those together with a few extra songs and call that an album or EP. I was trying to reach back to a time when the artist, producer and musicians went into the studio with a goal to finish an album, not just finish a song. This was tied together from the beginning as an entire compositional work."

The first single, "Taking Me Back," which will soon be accompanied an animated lyric video, is a rollicking country rocker that delivers a Combs-like good times vibe, riding along a scampering pedal steel guitar as the singer declares "I don't want to be alone tonight/but I can't stay here with you/It hasn't been easy to swallow all that truth/It hasn't been easy taking me back from you." The sunny sound of the song belies its emotional complexity. The title track, a Springsteen-like tune with sparse piano chords and trills reminiscent of "Jungleland" in the opening measures that blossom into a richly layered sound, features vocals and instruments spiraling higher into an ever-cascading chorus that mimics the hopes and dreams of the lyrics. The shimmering pop-inflected "Astronaut," with its rowdy country-folk chorus, and propelled by searing guitars on the bridge, urges us never to regret the past, but to let go of it and reach out and embrace what you're supposed to do. The southern rocker "Ready To" - featuring vocals that recall James Taylor's - is about fully embracing the challenge, passion, and struggle of being a singer-songwriter. The minor chord "Why Oh Why" is the album's thematic dark spot; written as a reaction to the recent Thousand Oaks shooting, and the fires that followed, exploring the dichotomy of choice and fate. The country crooner "Coming Home," on which he channels Darius Rucker, celebrates a moment of togetherness, while the guitar-driven "Gimme the Breeze" celebrates "the breeze that's the little lift to get you where you need," says Sless. He taps into his jam band influences on the closing number, "Too Much on My Mind," a looping, Grateful Dead-like, exploration of a musical theme driven by the pedal steel of - no relation - Barry Sless (Phil Lesh, Chris Robinson).

Sless started composing music as a Baltimore middle school student, writing pieces arranged for orchestra, marching band, jazz band, and string and brass sectionals. The journey down a new musical path began once his parents introduced him to the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty. Quickly taking to the old acoustic guitar his grandfather bought him in Atlantic City, Sless dove into an encyclopedic book dissecting the Beatles catalogue, discovering how Paul McCartney's vocals complemented George Harrison's guitar and propelling him across the universe from classical to rock craftsmanship.

Six years ago, Sless moved across the country to Los Angeles. After realizing he needed to pour his heart and soul into music in a way that he never had before, Sless delved deep into songwriting with a new approach to the music he'd been listening to all his life. In 2018, he enrolled in the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and quickly became a fixture on the Los Angeles singer-songwriter circuit, performing at The Mint, El Cid, The Study, TRiP Santa Monica, and NorthEnd Hollywood, to name a few.

Sless is planning album release events on the West Coast and East Coast in support of California Dream. Confirmed dates will be announced soon.

"This album is a huge step toward a realization of myself as an individual and a creative artist," he says. "It's a jumping off point into a world in which I can fully express myself as a human being. There truly is no better feeling."

CALIFORNIA DREAM Track Listing:
1. California Dream
2. Taking Me Back
3. Astronaut
4. Ready To
5. Why Oh Why
6. Coming Home
7. Gimme the Breeze
8. Too Much On My Mind

Genre: Americana
RIYL: Luke Combs, Sturgill Simpson, Donovan Woods, Jason Isbell, Steve Earle, Darius Rucker

Tom Sless

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