Album Review

Tomi Lunsford Stays True to Family Tradition

Tomi Lunsford - Come On Blue

When you’re the heir to a famous family legacy, big things are expected of you and it’s only sheer talent and tenacity that allows you to rise to the challenge. So credit Tomi Lunsford, granddaughter of the seminal songwriter and archivist Bascom Lunsford and daughter of Jim Lunsford, a musician and songwriter whose associations included Charlie Pride, Ronnie Milsap and many others, for creating an identity all her own. Originally part of a group that included her sisters Nancy and Teresa, she’s carved out a distinctive, if somewhat halting solo career, one that includes the 1997 debut album High Ground, work with a veritable who’s who of contemporary folk, blues and country icons (Porter Wagoner, Delbert McClinton, Paul Burch and David Olney, among them), and now, nearly ten years after that first individual outing, a sophomore set that all but assures her high standing in the family hierarchy. Lumsford’s mix of sassy southern blues and vintage honkytonk makes for a sound that’s both vintage and contemporary all at the same time, borne out by the robust veracity of songs such as “Go To People” and “Jesus Was a Union Man,” as well as the nocturnal moan of “Jumpin’ Blues,” the plaintive plea of “Battlefront” and the sway and sashay of "Come On Baby," "How You Gonna Make Ii Love" and “Killing Floor” Lunsford had a hand in writing all the songs (a traditional tune “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground” credits her with the arrangement) and the archival feel imbued in each offering can’t help but bring to mind the work of her forebears, suggesting she’s a scion who’s clearly inherited a reverence for traditional musical tapestry. The Lunsford family’s fortunes are clearly in good hands, suggesting that Tomi is more than ready to carry that history forward into the future.