Tom Heinl

One Eyed Jacks

August 08, 2005

Tom Heinl is a musician that just happens to write funny songs. Or, he's a stand-up comic that uses original music to get his jokes across. Either way, Heinl is an entertaining and unique performer.

Heinl trademarked stereoke. According to the definitions provided on Heinl's website, karaoke is when music is recorded and and vocals are taken off the track. Stereoke is when the music is recorded first and the vocals are placed on top later.

While opening for Holly Golightly at One Eyed Jacks Monday night, Heinl played a guitar or toy piano to canned tracks. Most of the time, though, Heinl sang over four track compositions that he played in a junky black cassette player on a chair to his right. Heinl's genre of choice was country. So, here's the question: have you ever heard a country song about the humiliation of a three way? I didn't think so. "Three Way" was a mournful, early 1900's-type ambler concerning the nightmare of a wife bringing home a man to only leave her husband out of the sex.

"IHOP" would have been funnier if New Orleans had one, but thankfully I could envision the pancake house being someone's last stop on a night of drinking. Heinl sang like Johnny Cash, and his music even sounded like the Man in Black's, just slowed down.

"The Ballad of Dan Haggerty" was the centerpiece of the night. Heinl donned a bushy beard to play Haggerty, the star of TV's "Grizzly Adams." Again, it would have been funnier if I was old enough to understand who Grizzly Adams was, and to understand who Ben The Bear was, but the buddy tale of the misadventures of Haggerty and Ben was pretty damn humorous.

For some reason Heinl saved his worst song, "Pinto Squire," for last. The song was an interesting list of problems with the mythically maladjusted vehicle.

Some people talked while Heinl performed, and he had a few hecklers. Heinl tried to ignore them and didn't engage them in conversation. Most of the people were into Heinl. The crowd got Heinl back up for an encore.

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