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Midway: The Boomers’ new album

From Ian Thomas is one of my favorite Canadian songwriters, ever. He burst onto the Canadian scene in 1973 with the tune, “Painted Ladies“, and has remained a fixture ever since, albeit somewhat quietly at times. Thomas’s regional hit single, “I’ll Do You Right“, from his 1984 album Riders on Dark Horses, is my favorite singalong-in-the-car song, and a brilliant love song as well.

Three years after his last album, Levity, was released in 1988, Thomas joined forces with three great Canadian musicians: Bill Dillon (guitar), Peter Cardinali (bass), and Rick Gratton (drums), all of whom he had known for years by that time, to form The Boomers. Between 1991 and 1996 they released three albums: What We Do, The Art of Living, and 25,000 Days. By the third album, Thomas’s writing had turned to themes about getting older, musing about past sins, changes a’ coming, truth, and the entire span of life: 25,000 days is in fact, just about the average life span of a man, just under 68.5 years. What impressed me consistently about these albums was the songwriting craft of Thomas combined with one of the most solid rhythm sections working today. Cardinali and Gratton are a perfect fit, laying down an impressive foundation for every song, and Bill Dillon’s guitar and occasional mandolin work are very tasty.

In 2002, after a six-year hiatus, The Boomers released Midway in the fall of 2002. The title intrigues me: does it reference the end of Part 1 of the Boomers’ collective lives (all four are in their 40s, at least, and likely early 50s), or is it the halfway point in the life of the band? In any event, Thomas returns to familiar themes on this album, such as aging, reliving warm memories, the ever-present need to believe in something, and love, but not casual, in-your-20s love, with flaming crotches and palpitating hearts, but love that has lasted for years, strengthening and deepening with the ages. Musically The Boomers offer a selection of songs that I can best describe as laid back, at times a bit too much for my taste, but not at the expense of the musicianship or writing. The Boomers are not a band that’s going to “rock your world”, or prepare you for the mosh pit (wait, are those still around?). My favorite tune on the album is I Remember, a song that grabbed me from the outset as it opens with an infectious guitar hook and builds from there.

I hope The Boomers are around for a time to come. If I could advise Thomas on the next album, I’d say, “Ian, rock out a bit more next time. Let the band flex its muscles!” That said, I’m still listening to Midway. There is a danger in suggesting their music is better suited for older listeners (i.e., 35+), and I hesitate to do so. But my guess would be that a seasoned listener might have more appreciation for Thomas’s songwriting and the band’s amazing musicianship.

Ian Thomas, and The Boomers, are examples of great Canadian musical talent that has remained regionally successful in Canada, immensely successful in Europe, especially Germany, but have made no noise in the USA. This may be your chance to hear them.

8 Responses to “Midway: The Boomers’ new album”

  1. Kelly Hall Says:

    I have been searching for a sight where I can locate an old friend of mine (Bill Dillon). Holy, I should have know he would become so recognized. If anyone happens to be in touch with him could you give him my email addy: Its Kelly, Very Old Good Good Friend from Hawkins era.

  2. Kelly Hall Says:

    I have been searching for a sight where I can locate an old friend of mine (Bill Dillon). Holy, I should have know he would become so recognized. If anyone happens to be in touch with him could you give him my email addy: Its Kelly, Very Old Good Good Friend from Hawkins era.

  3. Cindy Says:

    I am a Boomers/Ian Thomas fan, and one from down in the States! I love your review and agree with it completely! They’re just good in an intelligent, mature way that can really be appreciated by those of us who have experienced the wide range of music the last 30 years have brought forth. I love Midway but I think my favorite Boomers’ CD is What We Do. For anyone who hasn’t found them yet, check them out, either at ebay or even at Alma Records home site,


  4. dave Says:

    I”m a big fan of the boomers.I don’t agree with the guy who said you have to be 35 plus to like them. I was 21 when they first came out with “what we do” Dirty Love is an excellent tune , one that I always find myself cranking up! I can’t believe that they have another album out. I’ve always looked for more but nobody ever had them on the shelves.Thank’s to the net!A quick question for anyone. Why do Canadian bands have so much succes in Germany? ie Saga another of my favorite groups.

  5. Lutz Says:

    Hi! as I have just read Cindy `s question why Canadian musicians would have so much success especially in Germany I have decided to try writing an answer… well, you might have just found out that my English is not so the best, so I may introduce myself: I am Lutz, writing from Germany. For more than ten years I ve already been an great supporter of the band. (Does anybody know when the boomers will be on stage in Germany again..?)Actually I guess the Boomers are that much succesfull in Germany because of their helpful and strong lyrics (which are near to live and they discover the human sight – do you know what I mean..?) and the B produce very comfortable and relaxing music. Im G. maybe we expect more from lyrics than elsewhere I am not sure…- I am looking for your reply…

  6. Eliza Says:

    I’m a 17 year old Boomers fanatic! My whole family loves the Boomers and we listen to them regularly and sing along. I wish I could see them in concert but it seems that they arent touring:( I have learned “one little word” and “to comfort you” and I’m not stopping there! Too many favorites to name but I would have to say “to comfort you” is way up there, Ian’s lyrics are so sincere, he is amazing!

  7. randy Says:

    Hello Lutz, thanks for your comment. I do not know why The Boomers are so popular in Germany, but I am happy that you and many other German fans like them. I don’t know if they plan to release another album in the near future. They have never performed in Western Canada, where I live. Their music is mellow and soothing, and Ian Thomas’s lyrics can be very thought-provoking.

    Thanks again for writing.

  8. Lutz Says:

    Yes, Randy,I guess “thought-provoking” is a very good an fitting expression. In my eyes it`s especially the open spaces in the songs, which animate us to fill them with our own thoughts. This – let me say – inviting charakter maybe makes us feel comfortable…

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