Simpler Times A-Wastin'
'D.C. BLOOM'S SONGS HAVE AN INTELLIGENT CUTTING EDGE, FROM OUTRAGEOUSLY CLEVER TO POIGNANTLY THOUGHT PROVOKING. HE'S A GREAT ENTERTAINER AND A RECOMMENDED LISTEN.' ... Lloyd Maines 'BEING A TERRITORIAL, CLOSE-MINDED SNOB ABOUT SUCH THINGS, I'M USUALLY HESITANT TO EMBRACE NON-NATIVES TRYING TO SQUEEZE THEIR WAY INTO THE TEXAS SINGER/SONGWRITER SCENE. BUT D.C. BLOOM CHARMED HIS WAY PAST MY GUARD WITH A WINSOME LITTLE DITTY ABOUT MY FAVORITE SAN ANTONIO SPUR ('Manu Ginobil'), AND AFTER CLOSER INSPECTION OF THIS OTHER STUFF, I'M INCLINED TO LET HIM STAY. AS SOON AS HE WRITES A SONG ABOUT TONY ROMO, I'LL BE FIRST TO NICKNAME HIM 'TEX' ... Richard Skanse, Editor, Texas Music magazine. 'D.C. BLOOM IS A GREAT SINGER/SONGWRITER AND A FANTASTIC RADIO GUEST. WE HAD A BLAST WHEN WE HAD HIM ON OUR SHOW AND PLAYED HIS MANU GINOBILI SONG. D.C. IS TRULY A UNIQUE TEXAS TALENT.' ... Chris Duel, ESPN Radio 1250 The Zone, San Antonio, TX While D.C. Bloom doesn't exactly relish the label, he understands why one might call him a "late bloomer" on the Texas music scene. Yes, D.C. will admit, it took him a little over four decades to even get to the Lone Star State, despite the fact that he has occasionally cited the ghost town of Nix, Texas as his birthplace. But no, D.C.'s really an Ohio native, who spent years inside the D.C. Beltway and a stint in the chilly climes of New England before finally putting his boots on the ground in Texas. And even then, it was another two or three years before he cranked out his solo debut, Simpler Times A-Wastin'. So D.C. Bloom as the quintessential late bloomer is more than a little legit. D.C.'s journey from the Black Swamp land of northwest Ohio to the Texas Hill Country is as circuitous as his musical evolution. He left the Buckeye State in his rear-view mirror in the late '70s to travel to the nation's capital for a job with the FBI, where he began as a humble data entry clerk and ended up writing speeches for the Director. Bloom next took his growing family to Boston, heeding the siren call of the private sector's bigger paydays and earning a Master's degree in Speech Communication from the esteemed Emerson College. A return trip to D.C. four years later put him back in the business of putting words in the mouths of policymakers and movers and shakers in banking and housing finance. It wasn't until the late '90s, when - on a whim and the suggestion of a co-worker who detected a lack of true passion in Bloom's false calling - that he signed up for a songwriting workshop at the Kerrville Folk Festival and began to string words and chords together in a format more to his liking than the day job 30-minute PowerPoint presentations that paid the mortgage. Bloom next took his growing binder of original songs to Geoff Pemble, who played in the praise band at the church D.C. attended in Vienna, Virginia. Pemble invited D.C. to join the God's house band, which he did somewhat reluctantly, because contemporary Christian music didn't necessarily ring his chimes. But after the weekly rehearsals in the church sanctuary, Bloom and Pemble stayed on to work on D.C.'s secular songs, some of which probably never should have been sung anywhere near an altar. In any event, the two soon formed an Americana band called The Dog Waggers and self-produced a CD called "Chasin' Tales," which the good Lutherans of Northern Virginia scarfed up like fresh dog treats. And some of them even figured out that the title was more about pursuing posteriors than posterity. As his alphabetized binder continued to expand, Bloom dreamed of landing a cushy corporate gig that would finance his move to Texas and put him within easy driving distance of the sacred grounds of Kerrville. Lightning finally struck in early 2004, and the headhunted D.C. would bid adieu to the Dog Waggers and travel south by southwest to San Antonio with his beat-up Tacoma guitar and a new dream - to get out there and perform on his own ... and finally put out a CD all by his lonesome. A little mishap on a mountain bike and a goat farm that resulted in a broken left wrist and pins being inserted in same slowed things down a bit, but the recuperation time also allowed D.C. to pen more tunes to his new home state. "I have long wanted to be a Texas singer-songwriter," Bloom acknowledges, "and I figured the best way to do that is to write a song about every town and city in the state." With atlas and guitar in hand, he added to the repertoire that would form the basis for many of the songs on STA-W. Bloom's songs are chock full of witty wordplay and hand-hewn humor. "It may not seem like it," D.C. notes, "but I really do work at this silly stuff, ya know?" Because not unlike the spin and obtuse soundbites that emanate from the real D.C., there's often more than one way to interpret D.C.'s lyrics. Bloom paraphrases another fella who had a keen eye and an ability to masquerade truth in satire, saying, "Yep, I never met a double entendre I didn't like." The songs on Simpler Times A-Wastin' (STA-W) bear out D.C. Bloom's unique way with words. He sings of a headturning gal from Texarkana who much prefers men from Texas because when she's with Arkansas guys "she can't get her Little Rocks off." There's the delightful "Ballad of Boerne and Alice," which chronicles the on-line romance and the less-than-satisfying in-person hook-up of two residents of two Texas towns whose names sound a lot like where they're from. He takes a playful jab at the business community of the Alamo City on "I Can't Forget the Alamo," ticking off the real and imagined names of San Antonio enterprises that can't resist the temptation to call themselves Alamo something-or-other. And on the jazz-boiled "Small Potatoes," which features the beautiful acoustic guitar work of Maestro Aurora, D.C. offers homage to the virtues of organic farming, "diesel-powered cats in greasy trucker caps," and the noble pursuits of common women and men. The CD also includes two tracks with his former bandmates, the Dog Waggers, including "Ice Box on the Fritz,' a bouncing Sir Doug-inspired romp about a refrigerator handyman with more than repairs on his mind. But while it's D.C.'s light-hearted cleverness that draws the listener in, there's also a reflective, thoughtful side to his songwriting that touches on universal themes such as family or longing for deeper connections. On "Acres to Plow," which features the harmonies of Terri Hendrix and the steel guitar of Lloyd Maines," both of whom he first met at that defining Kerrville workshop, D.C. reminisces about his dairy farming father who would joyfully sing on his tractor all day long. And on the haunting and sobering "Neon Signs," D.C draws the parallel between those once-buzzing storefront artifacts from earlier days that have "lost their way and their will to shine" and broken down people who cling to false hope and memories of bygone and fading love. In short, Simpler Times A-Wastin' is the aural equivalent of those precious plants that bloom infrequently, but brilliantly. Sometimes, in music and nature alike, it is the rarity of the blooming that inspires awe ... and there is a thrilling poignancy in experiencing it in it's moment. D.C. Bloom needn't apologize for being a late bloomer by any means, but let's hope the next flowering of songs don't take nearly as long to germinate and blossom, now that he's escaped the bureaucratic gridlock of D.C. for the more creative climes of Central Texas. Lew Penlow, Americana Minutes Reprinted with permission of the author.