Bill Toms and Hard Rain: "Live at Moondog's"

Bill Toms and Hard Rain
"Live at Moondog’s"
BTAmerison Records

Singer/guitarist Toms, of the South Hills, and his six-man band Hard Rain often hit the road to the Atlantic’s other side and wind their way on this continent, too. But it was just a short jump for this gig on the far side of the Allegheny at the Blawnox club Moondog’s.

This one-nighter live performance was lit up by all kinds of styles in 11 of his songs. Toms doesn’t cotton to being pinned down, and what you hear on this CD comes across as doing well for just about anybody.

Outstanding “Chasing A Dream” rolls along with an appealing country feel, and thumping “Together” compellingly rocks as does “Mona Lisa Smile,” featuring guest singer Jill Paone Simmons, of Crafton, and the sturdy pulsing guitar of Rick Witkowski, of Weirton, W.Va.

Soul, doo-wop and boogie all get some play too. Toms cites such influences as Leadbelly, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, hence the band’s name from a Dylan song. This is the sixth CD by this group, hanging in there and hanging together since 1997.

Clearly, getting together with the crowd that June ’09 evening, they had it all together.

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