Podcast of the Week: Song by Song – a podcast about Tom Waits

An episode for every single Tom Waits song. The dream…

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Ahh Tom. Fancy drinking your body weight in whiskey? Feel like running off to join the circus? Step right up and listen to Tom Waits. I guarantee there will be a song in there just for you.

Since listening to my parents vinyl copy of Swordfishtrombones as a kid, Tom Waits has always been a massive part of my life. If you have been drunk with me you have listened to Tom Waits. But Waits is much more than just a booze hound and Song by Song goes someway towards proving that.

Analysing every Tom Waits song in chronological order for a podcast is such a simple idea that I really wish I had done it. Unfortunately, the musicians Martin Zaltz Austwick and Sam Pay beat me to it. The pair clearly have a passion for Tom Waits and an encyclopedic musical knowledge which adds a level of insight that I, admittedly, wouldn’t have been able to offer. ‘That sounds like a nice chord’ is about the extent of my musical contribution when I accidentally find myself talking with actual musicians so it’s probably for the best that Austwick and Pay take it from here.

Such is the magical draw of Tom Waits that people have been falling over themselves to feature on Song by Song with such luminaries as Jon Ronson, Isy Suttie and Jeffrey Cranor all taking part so far.  If you don’t know who Isy Suttie is by the way then I urge you to check out her photo album ‘Corfu 06’. It is a corker.

My slight criticism of Song by Song is that they only play snippets of the song they are discussing, probably for rights reasons, while this is unavoidable it does make listening on the go a bit of a problem as it takes 30 seconds to load up spotify or YouTube to find the song they are discussing and if we are being honest, that is time that I could be spending watching cartoons. This minor objection is barely worth mentioning however. Actually I wish I hadn’t mentioned it. Seething regret? There is definitely a Tom Waits song for that… let me just go find one.


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