Tom is best known as a steel guitar player who has guested with artists like Alejandro Escovedo, John Doe, and Sonny Smith. He started in the late ’80s as the lead guitarist and backup songwriter for the Philadelphia energetic alt-country band Go to Blazes. After five albums with them, he moved to San Francisco in 1997 and has since released six solo albums of Dylan-esque, lyrically driven folk-rock.
We discuss “Desperate” from 24th Street Blues (2023), “Chickenhawks and Jesus Freaks” from That Cool Blue Feeling (2013), “Bloody Sam” by Go To Blazes from Any Time… Anywhere (1994), and listen to “Etch A Sketch” from Show Business, Baby (2017). Intro: A Waylon Jennings cover, “Brand New Goodbye Song” (2008).
Watch the official video from one of Tom’s new songs “The Mission Is on Fire.” Hear all of “Desperate (Redux)” and “Brand New Goodbye Song” (Hear Waylon’s original version of that). Tom’s song featured on Justified was “Haunted,” which he wouldn’t let me use as the intro song for this interview, as he says it’s not representative of his sound. Hear Tom play steel guitar with Sonny Smith, and on this version of the classic “Sleepwalk.“
Image by Lauren Tabak. Audio editing by Tyler Hislop.