Poor Tom

Poor Tom


Poor Tom is Wanda's Newfoundland roots and Susan's Virginia roots meeting in some happy place near Toronto, Ontario.


Poor Tom was born as a duo in February, 2005, but Susan and Wanda have played together since July, 2002. Susan and Wanda draw on their classical backgrounds to share powerful harmony vocals and strong, lyrical song-writing. Their musical influences range from southern rock to traditional Celtic music from the rock (Newfoundland!). Drawing on their backgrounds as a theology student (Wanda) and a Grade 8 teacher (Susan), the duo digs deep when writing songs; whether reflecting on the human condition, or brushes with black bears in northern Ontario, the songs are passionate and entertaining.


Cinnamon Bear

Written By: Wanda Stride

There's a place called Heaven in Killarney
towering white cliffs, white pines, and me
Well why wouldn't I go?
who wouldn't want to see
the face of God etched in antiquity

The only trouble is you've gotta be fair
and Heaven's policy is that anyone can get there
in a canoe or in a travelling pair
you don't have to be smart
but you'd better beware

It's written in the brochures it's all right there
Heaven is ruled by a cinnamon bear...

rustling, snuffling in the middle of the night
he's supposed to be black but he's not quite right
twigs snap, leaves crack,
chasing the moonlight
you can see us running
me and my cinnamon bear...

When you're living in a tent it isn't hard to see how you can forget deadlines and work policies
when you're lying awake at a quarter to three
wondering what that sniffing could possibly be?

but there really is no question if you're paying attention
to the stories and the rumours and the others' intentions
leaving food out in the open
eating snacks in their tents
what were they thinking??
have they no sense????
and STILL they despair when they face the judgment
that night, by the cinnamon bear...


I'd like to say this story doesn't leave a scar
but that cinnamon bear went a little too far
sneaking up on kids and breaking into a car
so they sent him from Heaven
to a distant star...

But strong as we are we never get the last word
and later that night you'll never guess what I heard!


Hanging Curtains

Written By: Susan Luke and Wanda Stride

There really are no lyrics to this song, but we wanted to tell you about it!

We love playing Celtic fiddle and whistle tunes, and always planned to write one of our own. We were inspired to create Hanging Curtains as part of the music for the show "The M.O.M project" in Uxbridge. The single fiddle line was background music to a party, with women dancing all over the stage, hanging transluscent sheets of white organza. We will never forget the image, and we hope you share the feeling of celebration in our music!

Across the Water

Written By: Wanda Stride

Wind carries my song across the water I can’t say it feels all that wrong across the water still I look behind my shoulder for a moment.
No one stands on the shore that I called home I can’t say they stood there before when I called it home but I feel that haunting anchor pull me down.
Onward, onward
Leave behind the judgment and the superficiality for this buzzing symphony that seems to come from every tree and the weighted darkness that takes on personality across the water.
I feel like I am hiding here with nature whispering in my ear not begging me to stay I’d say but telling me she’ll find a way if I only ask
but all souls find their way home across the water through twilight’s thickening foam across the water and for an aching moment I surrender Onward, onward


A Dream Like Yours, 2007

Set List

Poor Tom typically plays a one-hour set, and two 45-minute sets each night. Two-thirds of the evening is original and traditional, with a variety of covers thrown in for fun (Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Maria McKee, Gretchen Peters, Steve Earle and so on).

Across the Water • A Dream Like Yours (WS/SL)• Cinnamon Bear (WS) • Dancing Day (SL/WS) • Dark Matter (WS) • Giving up the Ghosts (WS) • It Happened so Fast (WS) • Justify our Grief (WS) • Mr. Right (WS) • Radio (WS) • Rhythm that you Play (WS) • Ruby's Song (WS) • Skeleton Song (WS) • Stop the Car (WS) • The Giver (WS) • Unruly Love (slow) WS/LT) • Unruly Love (fast) (WS/PT, • Where is Love (WS)• Yellow Woods (SL) • You’ve Got a Way (WS)