Tom Graham
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Tom Graham

Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1997 | SELF

Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1997
Solo Americana Folk

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"YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO: Scranton Americana singer/songwriter Tom Graham"

YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO: Scranton Americana singer/songwriter Tom Graham

Tom Graham

City: Scranton

Genre(s): Americana, folk, blues, indie, rock

Years active: 1997-present

Sounds like: Whether you’re sitting in a small theater, around a campfire, on a back porch, or parked on a bar stool in your local pub, there’s nothing like hearing stories told in simple, yet poetic language from a good singer/songwriter – Tom Graham is that bard, making you pause, think, and sway back and forth as his skillful words strike a chord with your everyday troubles.

This is blue collar blues from an old mining town; it’s Pennsylvania-bred Americana that is raw in its honesty, but polished in its delivery. Whether it’s a memorable chorus or a resonating feeling, his songs will stick with you long after they end, particularly if you’re contemplating life, love, or anything in between.

For fans of: Tom Petty, Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, Justin Townes Earle, Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, Wilco, Cake, Coal Town Rounders, and Cabinet

Number of albums/EPs released: Five (one EP, “Sane,” in 2000 and four full-length albums, “Every Good Boy Does Fine” in 2003, “Go Aluminum!” in 2005, “Sea Legs” in 2007, and “Underneath a Rusting Roof” in 2015)

Latest album/EP: “Underneath a Rusting Roof,” released Feb. 10, 2015

Fun fact: Tom Graham has played more than 2,000 shows and will be celebrating 20 years performing live in 2017.

Online: Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube, and tomgrahammusic.com

Upcoming shows:

Oct. 29: Halloween show at the Sherman Theater (524 Main St., Stroudsburg) with Cabinet, Billy Strings, and Kopec, 8 p.m.

Oct. 30: F.M. Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre) with the Steve Miller Band, 8 p.m.

Nov. 11: Graham Mazer Duo at The Bog (341 Adams Ave., Scranton), 10 p.m.

Nov. 25: Annual Black Friday show at the Backyard Ale House (523 Linden St., Scranton), 10 p.m.

Listen to Graham talk about his music and the making of his latest album in Episode 13 on the NEPA Scene Podcast.

You Should Be Listening To highlights noteworthy local bands and solo musicians from Northeastern Pennsylvania and surrounding areas that deserve to be on your radar, handpicked by NEPA Scene’s editor. Look for it every Monday and support local music every day. - NEPA Scene


"TOM GRAHAM ON PERFORMING WITH CABINET, FINALLY PLAYING THE KIRBY CENTER & THE MAGIC OF HOUSE SHOWS"

TOM GRAHAM ON PERFORMING WITH CABINET, FINALLY PLAYING THE KIRBY CENTER & THE MAGIC OF HOUSE SHOWS

Tom Graham jokes that it will have taken him 2,101 shows to get to the F.M. Kirby Center stage in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where he will open for the Steve Miller Band on Sunday, Oct. 30. And that gig will come one day after another high-profile show at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, where the singer-songwriter will be supporting Cabinet.

“I have all of my gig books for each year and how many shows I’ve done,” says Graham, who in 2017 will mark 20 years of performing. “Cabinet will be 2,100 and Steve Miller Band will be 2,101.”

While Graham has been sharing stages with fellow Northeastern Pa.-bred bluegrass act Cabinet for a few years, the Steve Miller gig seemingly came out of the blue.

Kirby Center Executive Director Will Beekman explained how it all came together: “I received an email from his management telling me that Steve likes adding local/regional support acts to his gigs. I get the impression he’s a guy who remembers where he came from, a guy who wants to a give a stage to artists following the same dream that he has long since realized. I thought about the many great artists in our area, but Tom just seemed to be the best fit for this specific show. Before confirming his slot, management asked me to send some audio samples their way, and, not surprisingly, they liked what they heard. I was excited to deliver that news to him, and he was obviously excited to receive it. I was happy to be a part of that moment.”

In advance of Graham’s big weekend, we gave him a call to chat about what he’s been up to since releasing his fifth album, “Underneath A Rusting Roof,” early last year, some of his favorite Kirby Center memories and the magic of house shows.

On the last two years…

It’s been kind of like a full-court press ever since. Last year I had done 138 shows. This year about 100, and that’s also including giving myself a break in January and February and a little recharger in August so I didn’t lose my mind or get burnt out, because that happened in the past. But I feel good, and things are going extremely well.

Next year it will be my 20th year of playing live. So, I think I have it down; luckily I haven’t had too many issues with shows or canceling or anything like that. I can honestly say that every place I play is somewhere I want to play. I want to be in that room that night playing music and being in the moment.

On opening for Cabinet…

Playing with Cabinet, it’s a blessing and it’s always an experience. Their fan base has been so welcoming to me and so warm. It really is a family, and it’s a really fantastic energy to be around. And to have the opportunity to perform at the events that they throw is an absolute blast. And they’re smart. There’s different themes and the production is amazing and everyone treats it with a lot of heart and a lot of soul and with also so much thought between every move; it’s something I have a lot of respect for.

On opening for Steve Miller…

I received a call and an offer to do it, and I was just shocked and amazed, and it was confirmed, and it was announced, and it’s kind of been a whirlwind ever since.

I’m really a big fan of the FM Kirby Center and a big fan of all the shows and the productions they’re bringing to Wilkes-Barre. I think it’s amazing what they’re doing at the Kirby Center. It’s also amazing to share the stage with the Steve Miller Band. I’ve been listening to him all my life. I grew up in Moscow, Pa., listening to the greatest hits record that I think everyone owned at least two copies of.

On memories of shows at the Kirby Center…

The heavily touring act “Sesame Street Live” was a memory I have there, and some film festivals when I was younger. I believe it was “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Temple of Doom”; I believe it was one of those shows. As far as concerts, one of my favorite shows there was Faith No More and Helmet, and I believe the stage collapsed. And a couple years ago, Primus brought their 3-D show there. There are countless, countless shows that I’ve wanted to see that I wasn’t available to go to.

It’s one of the finest places. And to go out there and take a chance on Jason Isbell was great.

On the rest of 2016…

After this run, just kind of back doing shows in the area, and getting back with Justin Mazer in the beginning of November. We haven’t played together since Susquehanna Breakdown.

I did house shows this year. It was my first time playing that alternative venue idea. The goal was to do 10, and I will have done 16 house shows by the end of the year. And by the end of the year, a run of shows and Christmas shows.

On house shows…

I hadn’t been to any house shows. I kind of heard of different artists kind of doing that in between tour runs. I threw a feeler out there on social media and started booking them, and it really took off. It’s been a blast. Really fun.

Some hosts have been people that I know, some are people that reached out. It’s been quite an adventure of just showing up and being welcomed into people’s homes to play music. It’s a great honor to be invited into someone’s home. I’ve done some places in Scranton, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and I’m going to do Baltimore and Albany.

The crowd size has been between 20 and 50. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but you just kind of find your way. Playing originals, playing covers and making songs up and having people sing along. And staying for two hours longer than I was supposed to just because it was so much fun. - Highway 81 Revisited


"Tom Graham blends wide array of musical influences into songs uniquely his own"

Tom Graham blends wide array of musical influences into songs uniquely his own

BY CAITLIN HEANEY WEST / PUBLISHED: JANUARY 26, 2015

Musician Tom Graham of Clarks Summit will release his first new album in nearly seven years, “Underneath a Rusting Roof.”

Tom Graham’s Achilles heel actually made him stronger.

Sure, tearing his Achilles tendon left the signer-songwriter unable to walk for a while, but his recovery gave him a chance to play the guitar and rediscover music that inspired him to rework his latest album. With about 70 percent of the venture already complete, he made changes that left him with what he considers his best-sounding work to date.

“After sitting back and listening to it, I felt it was where I wanted it to be,” Mr. Graham said.

His first new album in nearly seven years, “Underneath a Rusting Roof” releases Tuesday, Feb. 10. Mr. Graham will have CDs of the new album available at his shows, but it also will go on sale at Gallery of Sound and online at iTunes, Spotify, Google and Amazon.

Mr. Graham grew up in Moscow listening to the likes of Paul Simon, the Beatles, the Cure, the Smiths, Rush and Nirvana, and he later found more influences in acts like the Band, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. He played the drums for several years in different bands, but he eventually realized he wanted more of a say about what kind of music he wanted to play. After his college roommate bought a guitar at a fire sale, he started teaching himself how to play that instrument, too.



“He played it for a day, put it down, and I picked it up,” said Mr. Graham, who now lives in Clarks Summit.

Plenty of performances

Over the last two decades, he has performed steadily not just locally but also around the country at venues of all sizes and types. He also serves as managing editor of Electric City and Diamond City, two publications of Times-Shamrock Communications which also owns The Times-Tribune, a job that lets him talk about music and help the local arts and entertainment scene.

Mr. Graham writes his own music and lyrics and describes his sound as rock ’n’ roll with “maybe a rootsy, acoustic flavor,” although his new album also “dips toes in other sounds,” like folk and country. The 12-track work also has a bigger band sound entwined with acoustic and singer-songwriter elements for which Mr. Graham said he probably is more well known.

“It’s kind of my influences all swirled into one,” he said.

As for the album’s subject matter, Mr. Graham leaves that open to interpretation.

“There’s not really one message I’m trying to get out,” he said, noting how he dislikes when other artists try to do that.

He knows his music has evolved from album to album, though.

“I think as you grow and experience different things, you’re writing about different things,” he said.

Other artists have contributed on his last couple albums, but Mr. Graham also has played all of the parts for songs. On “Underneath a Rusting Roof,” Jimmy Reynolds of TwentyFiveEight Studios served as co-producer, a collaboration in which Mr. Graham said they pushed each other with different ideas. They started over on songs a few times, he added, and he believes he “absolutely” made the right decision in reworking the album after his injury. It all resulted in an album whose tracks he said flow into each other.

Ready for stage

With several gigs lined up for February, Mr. Graham feels ready to get back on stage after taking off from playing in January to recharge.

“2014 was a great year, but it also left me in needing a good break after 18 years of playing,” he said.

He will perform in Scranton on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Backyard Ale House and follow with shows Thursday, Feb. 12, at Galaxy Brewing Co., Binghamton, New York; Friday, Feb. 13, at Sarah Street Bar & Grill, Stroudsburg, with Johnny Rydell; Feb. 19 at Turkey Hill Brewing Co., Bloomsburg; and Saturday, Feb. 21, at River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp., with Coal Town Rounders.

He has a core group of venues he knows all appreciate music and welcome his performances.

“I’m pretty lucky that I don’t really have to play any place I don’t want to,” Mr. Graham said.

Fans also will have a chance to hear the album a few days early at the Bog, 341 Adams Ave., Scranton. The bar will stream the album Friday, Feb. 6, as well as display posters of original artwork Mr. Graham created to advertise each of his shows over the last two years.

“It feels good to get back out there,” he said.

Contact the writer:

cheaney@timesshamrock.com,

@cheaneyTT on Twitter

Meet Tom Graham

Based in: Clarks Summit

Genre: Rock ’n’ roll with “a rootsy, acoustic flavor”

Upcoming: “Conclude/Introduce” poster art show and listening party, Feb. 6, The Bog, 341 Adams Ave.; and performances, Feb. 7, Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton; Feb. 12, Galaxy Brewing Co., 41 Court St./153 and 157 Washington St., Binghamton, New York; with Johnny Rydell, Feb. 13, Sarah Street Bar & Grill, 550 Quaker Alley, Stroudsburg; Feb. 19, Turkey Hill Brewing Co., 991 Central Road, Bloomsburg; Feb. 21, with Coal Town Rounders, River Street Jazz Cafe, 667 N. River St., Plains Twp.

Online:www.tomgraham music.com, www.facebook.com/tomgrahammusic,

@thetomgraham on Twitter and Instagram. - The Times-Tribune


Discography

Underneath a Rusting Roof (2015)

Sea Legs (2007)

The Can’t Help Its EP (2006)

Go Aluminum! (2005)

Every Good Boy Does Fine (2003)

Sane (2000)

Photos

Bio

Tom Graham is a musician and singer-songwriter based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. For the past two decades, Graham has continuously traveled the country, singing his songs and playing his music for crowds of all shapes and sizes. In that time span, he has released five independent records and received national and internet acclaim and radio support. Graham has averaged more than 200 shows a year and has performed in multiple venues across the continental United States, from music halls and festivals to pubs and clubs.

Discography

Underneath a Rusting Roof (2015)

Sea Legs (2007)

The Can’t Help Its EP (2006)

Go Aluminum! (2005)

Every Good Boy Does Fine (2003)

Sane (2000)

Band Members