Rapid City Journal — June 2008

Singers find themselves in service of the song

My attitude toward songs is peculiar. I see their as living things that grow and change as various singers interpret them and I consider the song as primary. The singers I like best are those who sing as servants of the song rather than for whatever aggrandizement singing can get them.

Steve Thorpe
Steve Thorpe

Ken and Cory Tomovick’s first CD, “Beneath the Surface,” is about as perfect as the singer/song relationship can get. Cory wrote 11 of the 12 songs that make up the album, and her love and respect for them is obvious. The acid test is her interpretation of Black Hills Jerry Garcia’s “Tick Tock,” (A fine song, Jerry. Thanks for writing it). It’s a love song that harks back to the ‘50s. The song is both cute and sweet, and Cory imbues it with a breathy sensuousness that reminds me of a grown-up Brenda Lee.

Cory’s songs tend toward a more serious side: love, death arid “politics,”if not taxes. No Limit on Love” fills the latter slot,” ... Let’s Put It on the Ballot: No Limit on Love.” “Serious” doesn’t imply that there’s no sense of fun. “Mean Mommy” plays with delight on the child/parent relationship. As a songwriter, Cory finds the universal in the little things in life: a rocking chair in “Bless This Child,” lipstick on a collar in “No Game,” which she wrote in the spirit of Elvis and Patsy Cline, and the mixing bowl in “Momma’s Mixing Bowl.” The clock in “Tick Tock’’ fits right in.

In March, I heard Cory for the first time in a long time at the Hill City open mike (Now at Slate Creek Grille, Saturdays at 7 p.m.) I was struck by the fact that since I heard her last, she had crossed that elusive line between just singing and singing in the service of her songs. ·Beneath the Surface” confirms that impression. It is an amazing collection of songs well served by their singer. Ken Tomovick, who plays guitar, bass, harmonica and keyboard, and who did the recording, deserves equal kudos. The instrumentation serves the vocals as the vocals serve the songs. If there is a false note, I am so taken with the beauty and the spirit of the whole collection that I can’t hear it. Instrumental contributions by Kenny Putnam, Larry Lashley and Lynne Loverich work in perfect harmony with the whole. Ken and Cory make up a formidable duo, and this first CD proves it. They’ll be at the Black Hills Songwriters’ Workshop with Chuck Pyle June 23-27 at the historic Stratobowl near Rockerville. A student concert is slated for Thursday, June 26. Contact Cory Tomovick, 342-2180, 430-4699 or ctomovick@hotmail.com. If you know you’ll miss Chuck at the workshop, he’ll perform at The Journey at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 21. Check out Summer Nights at The Dahl, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays all summer.