31 October 2022
Disaster, as a metaphor, plays a big part in this act’s overall presentation. Its group name, for instance, describes a sky view just before a tornado. Next, the album’s title track references hurricanes, as the word ‘deluge’ refers to an overflowing of the land by water, a drenching rain or an overwhelming amount or number. In other words, it’s an event that is just too much for an overcome human to handle. We all hurt, but we all – eventually – heal. However, it’s difficult to know what to do whenever the pain bowls us over and doesn’t seem to give us any way out. This, one surmises, is what Tornado Sky is singing about with this particular title track.
The album’s standout inclusion is one called “Two Beat Up Hearts,” which Gladhart sings lead on. It finds its narrator sitting at a bar, drinking her way through brokenhearted-ness. This hurt one, however, luckily found an empathetic soul on the barstool next to her at this watering hole. Both are applying alcohol therapy to their wounds. The recording includes plenty of Rusty Danmyer’s steel guitar, which gives it the lonesome, lowdown sound of a country weeper.
A couple of the other songs where Gladhart sings lead, are also quite personal. Opener, “Am I Mighty,” finds Gladhart struggling to find her identity. Over a gentle, quiet arrangement, Gladhart describes a little of her life history, wondering what it will all add up to in the end. It incorporates some especially lovely backing vocals. “Walking Next To Me” is a really sad one. “I lost my brother out of the blue,” she begins, “Cancer can do that to you.” She wastes no time in setting the scene, that’s for sure. She goes on to explain how she feels like he’s still with her, somehow. The realm of the afterlife is filled with mystery, even for those that have strong religious beliefs. Losing a sibling is one of the toughest experiences for all family members left behind.
Songs where Careaga sings lead, tend to be the most folk-ish. One called “Go,” for instance, finds Careaga trying desperately to understand the right direction to travel using the map of a relationship. What may seem like a ‘go,’ may actually be a ‘stop,’ and sometimes we don’t know the right answer until long after we’ve passed that fork in the road.
For an act with such an ominous approach, Tornado Sky sure makes impending doom sound sonically lovely. Maybe that’s the best way to face one’s fears – by creating something beau
tiful through music. Storms will come and go, and there’s no getting away from that or around it. Someone once said that life will always be hard. The key to growth is learning to do hard things better. Music may not heal our wounds, but it is certainly a comforting distraction, if nothing else. Tornado Sky counters the deluge of hurt with an equally powerful deluge of beautiful sounds.
Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio, Roughstock.com, Country Standard Time and Spin.com.