Biography

I was born in Musselburgh but I now live in Edinburgh. Jane and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary this year; I've said she can have anything she wants from Poundstretchers. I should watch what I'm saying; she still hasn't forgiven me for Christmas when I bought her the Band of Brothers DVDs. 
 We have three grown up children, Rebecca, Matthew and Rachel. Matthew is married to Jane and they live in Dunfermline; they have three wonderful children called Joshua, Sophie and Jessica who are the absolute light of our lives.
Rachel and her husband Stephen stay in Glasgow. They have both embarked on a Ph.D. Rachel's is in Philosophy at Edinburgh and Stephen's is in the poetry of WW1 at Glasgow. They married on May 29th 2010 so I'd better sell lots of CDs to pay for that wedding! They blessed us with a beautiful new grandson Isaac Oliver on 23rd September 2010. Rebecca stays in Edinburgh and is into drama. She has acted in several plays and I've enjoyed them all without feeling the nerves that any parent gets. She's confident and can project, which are good attributes for an actress...and for working in a vomitarium!
 In terms of the music...I attempt to write lyrical, melodic and intelligent songs and try to make the best use of my guitar skills to provide sensitive uncluttered arrangements. I often gig as a part of The Travelling Waverlies, who perform a mixture of poetry and song and who released their first cd Speaking In Tongues to really good reviews. The Waverlies compromise four poets…Bob Shields, Billy Cornwall, Mike Dillon and myself although the group has grown to be more inclusive and performers such as Mark Barnett, Martin Boland, Nancy Somerville, Jane Fairnie and Kenny Vass have all contributed. We have toured the Netherlands and performed at various festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe. I often collaborate with Bob and we are steadily building up a catalogue of songs. Our joint efforts feature on birthmarked, Speaking In Tongues, The Harbour At Symi, Companions, War On War, The Journeyman and As Eden Lay In Darkness. My style cuts across folk, country and blues but I simply try to write the best songs that I can. The most recent CD is The Journeyman where I was lucky to have the support and help of singers and players like Kathy Stewart, Arthur Wilson, Kenny Vass, Martin Boland, Ken Kennedy, Killian Playthell-Steele, Gill Reid, Pamela Halpin, Peter Kavanagh, Mark Barnett, Jane Fairnie and others. I'm currently working on the initial stages of producing another Waverlies CD and another solo effort, As Eden Lay In Darkness, both of which I'm really looking forward to.

Facts about Tom

I've met Sir Edmund Hilary, Eric Bibb, Jackie Leven, John Peel, Allan Taylor, Hans Theesink, Martin Stephenson...

I've seen Simon & Garfunkle, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Donovan, Joan Armatrading, Roy Harper, The Incredible String Band, Robert Palmer, Sandy Denny, Eric Bibb, Jackie Leven, Jackson Browne, Tom Waits amongst others and we're off to see Jimmy Buffett later this year.

I once stayed with the Berbers in North Africa for a couple of weeks on an adventure holiday.

I've got a song being used to promote hoiday Log Cabins in the USA.

I'm six times removed from you.

Favourites and Influences

Here's a list of some of my favourite things and another of some of my influences...

Jane, singaround parties, writing new songs, redemptive movies, Jorge Louis Borges, Cold Comfort Farm, Zany Afternoons, Glen Baxter, Gary Larsen, making lists...and a million other things. 

Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Bob Shields, Lowell George, Tom Ovans, Jackie Leven, Eric Bibb, Paul Sibel, Paul Simon, John Sebastian, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, The Incredible String Band, Lonnie Donegan, Ted Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Michael Chapman, Mike Dillon, Martin Boland, Tom Clelland, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Tom Waits, Tom Russell, Tom Rush, Tommy Flanders, John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Ron Geesin, Steve Earle, Loudon Wainwright, Al Pettaway, Paul Brady, Joni Mitchell, Mark Barnett, Dory Previn, Leo Kottke, Ry Cooder, Roy Rogers, Bernard Brogue, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dana Robinson, Sinead Lohan...and thousands more.

Some of my favourite CDs are...Ten New Songs by Leonard Cohen, Another Saturday Night, Highway 61  Revisited and Nebraska, amongst hundreds of others.

Artists of the month

Rather than continue making endless lists of artists I like or who have influenced me, Jane suggested that I simply feature an artist of the month here. I decided to make it two artists of the month; one a recognised performer and the other a perhaps less well known songwriter whom I admire. This month's artists are... 

Sinead Lohan:  If you haven't come across her first CD "Who Do You Think I Am" then you are in for a treat. It is a wonderful set of songs. Over the years since I first bought it  have almost worn it out playing it and it still stands up for me as one of the best examples of songwriting alongside sparse, symapthetic arrangements that work so well to enhance the songs. The lyrics often strike an emotional chord and it's just a pity she hasnn't released more. She has a second CD called "No Mermaid" and it's a very strong set of songs as well, although for me it doesn't reach the same emotional heights as her first. I believe she may have made a third CD that, as far as I am aware, hasn't been released. I guess she must have a fund of songwriting gems just waiting to stun us when we least expect. Please seek out her CDs. I don't think she has a current website; I guess she values her privacy as much as we value her music. I wish her well.

Rachel Dawick: I first met Rachel at the Dunkeld Singer Songwriter Festival several years back. She is originally from New Zealand and has travelled extensively. I think I can say that I have seen her songwriting develop over those years and she writes excellent songs with a real degree of craftmanship that she takes very seriously. The most recent songs I heard from Rachel were stunning and one in particular made me just want to hear it over and over again. I have a couple of her CDs in my collection, "Journeys" and Ed's Bar And Grill, which are both well worth seeking out. I particularly like Ed's Bar And Grill, which features some very strong songs including "Body Is A Mountain" , which is one that gets a lot of airplay. Rachel pops up all over the place performing, writing and being involved in almost every aspect of songwriting. She is a dear friend and we have even tried recording together although we were all probably more intersted in wine and conversation to take it too seriously. She has a great voice and a very confident way of performing a song such that I always get the feeling that she really lives the song when I hear her sing. www.racheldawick.com


lf you would like to check out my previous artists of the month you can find them on the Archive page.