Released by: Independent
Release Date: October 20th, 2023
Genre: Blues/Doom Rock
Tom Jordan – Guitar & Vocals
Mitch Ostrowski – Drums & Vocals
Bomb That Saved The Day
Black Top Sorrow
Midnight Train To Memphis
Just Got Paid
Seven years later, and seven tracks later 20 Watt Tombstone, a blues doom rock from Wausau, WI, USA has a new album coming out on Oct 20th.
This review comes personal to me as I know singer and guitarist Tom Jordan, and drummer Mitch Ostrowski, and have for quite some time. I also shot some of the album art for this band, but I had no inclination as to what the album sounded like. They were quite secretive about things when we did the shoot. Although, now hearing the album, the location was a perfect setting for the media that has been promoting this album and their current tour.
For starters, 20 Watt Tombstone is a 2-piece band, which is already killer given what they sound like. The album just rocks out hard there’s no other way to put it. There’s not much downtime either. I listened to the album straight through a good 4-5 times and every time it ended I rushed to restart it. It’s the perfect working music, the perfect driving music, it’s just good old rock’n’roll for the doom blues soul. I found myself hearing some Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath guitar tones, mixed with Red Fang and Clutch. The tone in the guitars is quintessential to the sound of this album.
“The Prophet Man” – Tom’s singing and words in this tune is a play on the church. I really enjoy this tune, of all the songs on the album this one got stuck in my head, maybe because I heard it before. It has that fuzzy bluesy doom that you want more of. They made a fun music video for this song too:
Moving onto the title track “Chosen Few”. Between the riffs, and words, and drums the play of everything is brilliant. The solo in this song is on point, very fitting that’s what originally got me as I was listening to it.
Bomb That Saved The Day – This is the first time we really encounter the blues element on the album, but it works really well. Even with the mids pumped and fuzzy overdrive of the guitar the note choice is clear and comes through. This song has a 70s rock feel that you don’t want to stop.
Black Top Sorrow – hitting on some more blues, this time with the slide. The first minute will just have you nodding your head along. This song to me is classic 20 Watt Tombstone I remember first hearing when I first discovered them. It’s a little slower, more doomy, but the vocals are heavier in weight of the sound than what we’ve experienced so far. It picks up pace about two thirds of the way through, to match the other songs on the album.
Both of the next songs were covers done during covid and released as a 2 song EP “Year of the Jackalope”, as Tom said, “Two covers make up this short but sweet EP heralding a close to the craziest year of the bands lifetime, and what better animal to represent the disaster that 2020 was….the Jackalope.”
Midnight Train to Memphis – This is actually a Chris Stapleton cover, and a damn good one at that. It hits a little differently, it’s definitely not as country, more rocky. They did the cover justice!
Just got Paid – Originally done by ZZ Top. Great rendition. I can feel the ZZ Top being channeled.
We end the album with “Magnolia” a new original, and it’s a banger! You will tap your hand, foot, head whatever you move along with it. This is my favorite song on the album. I like the switch in modes when the song goes to just guitar and singing, not typical of this band in general. It lends well to the song with the slide and everything. Around 3:24 we go back into the intro riff and they do what they do best and keep riffing along.
Overall, I imagine this album will become a staple in my collection, as it should yours. If you’re into that southern swampy blues doom sound, this is for you.
Written by: Chris Rugowski