Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Song of the Day: Tom Sawyer (Rush)

Yeah, a REAL Rush fan would have made this the FIRST SOTD entry, blah blah blah.

Until I have a Rickenbacker bass autographed by all three band members AND a drum kit signed by drummers John Rutsey and Neil Peart, I am not a true fan. Besides, Rutsey's dead.

This was the gateway song for me, the one that launched me into Rush fandom, one of the songs that made me want to learn to play guitar. It's the opening track on the Canadian power trio's 1981 "Moving Pictures."

"Sawyer" is arguably the Best Damn Rush Song, Period (depends on whom one asks), or at least it's tied for first against "Limelight," which is also on "Pictures." From the opening synthesizer sound to the utterly-solid drum, bass, and guitar grooves to Geddy Lee's trademark pre-pubes screech, "Sawyer" defines everything I love about the band's early-80's sound. Geddy's bass tone on the entire album is punchy with an overdrive snarl that I wish my cheapie Kramer bass could get. Alex Lifeson's guitars sound enormous and his solo confidently teeters on the edge with no fear of falling. Neil Peart's drums were mic'ed perfectly: every punishing blow stands out, from the lowest THUMP of the kick-drums to the CRASH!! of the cymbals.

I wish Rush had been able to recapture this chemistry more often in their more-recent works.


  1. I generally don't approve of people who post things that are entirely negative, but ick! I have to confess Rush was one of the worst things I was ever exposed to back then, and Tom Sawyer was the nadir of all music on the radio. Mercifully, I had forgotten Limelight, which I remember also hating, although I cannot recall the tune right now.

    (deep breath)

    I feel better now with that off my chest.

    -- LR

  2. Just for that, "Limelight" will be SOTD tomorrow!


  3. Do your worst. I can't read your tablature, and the tune will be meaningless to me. *ppbbbttt*