Home Hear Tom Cheshire Band | I Can’t Hold On: Exclusive Premiere

Tom Cheshire Band | I Can’t Hold On: Exclusive Premiere

Cash meets Clash in this new preview of the Atlanta cult hero's upcoming album.

Tom Cheshire watches love slip through his fingers in his raw, raucous punkabilly single I Can’t Hold On — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.

The opening track from the Georgia vet’s upcoming solo debut Everything Is New Again, the chugging, lovelorn roots-rocker plays like some phantom radio broadcast of a lost Sun Studio session beamed across the decades, bleeding through the static on a sweltering all-night drive from N.Y.C. into the heart of the Dirty South, destination: Slapback City.

I Can’t Hold On is very important to me,” Cheshire declares. “I was going through some hard times when I wrote this song. I’m a big fan of the way The Smiths were like, ‘I want to cut off your head, I want to bludgeon you,’ but the songs sounded so happy. That’s what I was thinking for I Can’t Hold On. I originally came up with the idea for the song in Brooklyn with my friend Andrew McLaughlin. We wrote it together, and there are lines that are very harsh — ‘I wanted to cry but you started to laugh’ — and that did really happen.”

“What can I say, I guess we fell out of tune
My heart hit the floor when you entered the room
And there I stood in a puddle of glass
I wanted to cry but you started to laugh
Honey I can’t hold on, no I can’t hold on
Baby, I can’t hold on for you.”

“This was the second song we recorded for the new album with Randy Michael. And that’s when he came up with the term Johnny Clash to describe the sound of what we were doing. Lyrically and melodically, it’s Cash meets Clash. And also the percussion — I’m playing this cajon, and we’ve got shakers going on. It sounds like if Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash had recorded at Studio One in Jamaica in the 1960s.”

As a frontman, songwriter and vocalist, Cheshire is a force of nature: A gutter poet, beautiful and broken. Yet Cheshire also bursts at the seams with passion, life and love in the most kinetic sense. You can hear it in the way he speaks about Everything Is New Again, and in his genuine affection for the tight-knit collective of musicians who back him. More brothers than bandmates, every last member of TCB has been a ride-or-die compadre across the decades — through good times and bad, in dope sickness and in health — as Cheshire fronted Atlanta cult heroes Rent Boys, West End Motel and All Night Drug Prowling Wolves.

“My best friends and I have been playing together in one variation or another for the last 25 years,” Cheshire says. “When we first met, we dove into music, art, poetry, film — we opened our minds and really let ourselves get turned on and inspired. TCB is my solo project, but it’s still a band, a group, a gang. I’m lucky that me and all these guys have remained such great friends. It had been years since we all played together, so making Everything Is New Again was a way to reconnect. Our fondness for each other — our genuine concern and caring and love for each other — is palpable. We’ve always been there for each other. It’s a testament to our beautiful friendships.”

TCB launched in 2021 when Cheshire and longtime buddy Mike Shina started jamming during the pandemic, with the former on vocals, keys and percussion, and the latter on guitar and drum machine. Shina was a songwriting member of Rent Boys and also played in an early version of West End Motel. From there, they called on upright bassist Stiff Penalty, aka Steve McPeeks, sax player Ben Davis and guitarist B. Kinch, aka Brian Kincheloe.

Everything Is New Again is an ambitious, authentic, multifaceted gem of a record, the culmination of a wild and reckless lifetime spent prowling the seedy depths of underground music, art and poetry. Featuring newly recorded songs alongside reimagined classics from Cheshire’s 25-year oeuvre, it conjures a new, weird Americana — a folk-punk street-poet Southern-gothic honky-tonk revival that wears its influences like a sleeve of faded tattoos: Cash filtered through Tom Waits, Nick Cave, The Pogues and The Clash.

In keeping with the album’s title, Cheshire is ready to start a fresh chapter. “I have my ups and downs and all arounds,” he says. “I’ve battled anxiety and depression. But making this record was like being born again. I re-fell in love with music. I re-fell in love with songs and what they do to me, and how they make me feel. I re-fell in love with writing and performing. Music can save you and change you and rearrange you. I’m not a religious person, but I’m certainly spiritual, and the message is, we’re all in this together, any kind of weather. This record is about hope, friendship, brotherhood, sisterhood, love, getting out of the shit and seeing that beautiful light at the end of the tunnel.”

Check out I Can’t Hold On above, hear more from Tom Cheshire below, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.