“In Hollywood” by Tom Proctor & The A-Listers
Drums click into place and gallop towards us at full speed in the opening bars of “In Hollywood,” the new single by none other than countrified singer/songwriter and actor Tom Proctor, but their fervent assault is softened by a glistening melody born of smoldering bass and wistful, free-spirited guitar strings. They swing back and forth with a pendulousness that is aggressive in nature but easy for us to synchronize our hips with, and before we know it Proctor is serenading us with his folkie vocal that invites us to step into his dreamy description of the city that so many celebrities find stardom in. He doesn’t flinch, even when the rhythm of the song is burning with as much passion as his lyrics are, and for the next three and a half minutes, he and his band The A-Listers are all we can focus on.
“In Hollywood” sees Proctor utilizing every inch of sonic space that the composition affords him; he fills even the smallest of gaps with immense textures and colorful lyricism that ties together all of the eccentricities within the instrumentation. This song is by far one of his most dexterously arranged, pitting the rhythm section against the lead for an all-out battle of the titans. In the end, it’s us, the listeners, who benefit the most from all of their clashing and the aesthetical contrasts that are rendered as a result; instead of boring us with another predictably bucolic country ballad, Proctor and The A-Listers pull out all the stops and legitimately produce something provocative and cut from a more progressive cloth in comparison to most Nashville fodder.
Though he’s possibly better known for his roles in such films as 12 Years a Slave and Guardians of the Galaxy, just as much can be said of Tom Proctor’s prowess around a recording studio, which he demonstrates swaggeringly in this single for both critics and fans to marvel at. There’s never a moment where we feel like we’re listening to something forced or steeped in a commercial interest skulking about just beneath the surface of the song’s narrative; there’s just Proctor, his simple message and the complexities of his intricately designed sound, which puts a lot more stock in his God-given vocal tonality than it does any other component within the song.
Fans of country music old and young would do well to check out “In Hollywood” if they haven’t already, along with the rest of Tom Proctor’s growing discography of straight up country jams. I think that overall this song makes for an excellent jumping-off point for anyone curious about Proctor’s work or the style of play that he’s so brilliantly made his own. Time will be the ultimate judge, but from where I sit, I think that it’s just as possible that he’ll be remembered for his contributions to music as much as he is the big screen, and for an actor who has appeared in multiple Academy Award-winning films, that’s no small statement to make by any stretch of your imagination.