Who knew that the bluesy, charcoal-throated singer who released his debut album, “Closing Time,” in 1973 would go on to become the gravel-voiced singer who could break your heart and tear down mountains with the same line?
Tom Waits himself might not have even known that all those years ago.
But here we are, 40 years later, talking about the long and storied history of one of music’s most creative and off-kilter artists and the still-lingering effects of his debut LP. “Closing Time” wasn’t simply the work of just another singer-songwriter who tended to favor the piano and acoustic guitar. Granted, much of the broken, scarred compositions of his later albums were all but absent on his debut, but that doesn’t make it any less emotionally shattering or seemingly drawn from the worn seams of his own veins.
The songs flowed from a wellspring of emotion and personal experience that came from a