Thomas  Goss
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Thomas Goss


Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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"A Pop Tunesmith"

Tom Goss
Back to Love...

By Al Kaufman

As You Tube sensation Susan Boyle demonstrated, you can't judge a singer by his or her looks. On the cover of Back to Love...Tom Goss looks like a slight, New Agey guy with a reed-like voice. What he actually is, is a pop tunesmith with gritty, somewhat nasally vocals that resemble a sharper Dave Matthews.

Goss is also known as a gay songwriter. Yes, he is gay, but so (reportedly) is Joan Jett, so was Freddie Mercury. They wrote songs that everyone could relate to, and so does Goss. Because of his video, depicting both straight and gay couples in bed, Goss's "Til the End" has become a sort of gay anthem in fighting for the rights of gay marriage. The song itself, however, is far more subtle. Over some pretty guitar picking, Goss describes little moments of sleeping in late and noticing a smile. He keeps the pedantics to a minimum. It is easily a song and straight couple would choose as a first dance at their wedding.

The whole CD is about love, both physical and platonic, and its highs and lows. And Goss studies the most cliched sentiment in music with a keen ear and eye, making it sound fresh. Writing a love song is easy. Writing a good one is hard. Tom Goss writes good love songs, for everybody. - Atlanta Music Guide

"Full of Impassioned Performances"

On one level, Back to Love, Tom Goss' third album, is, as its title suggests, a collection of love songs feelingly sung and set to open-structured folk/rock arrangements. But it is clear from the urgency with which Goss sings and the terms in which he sets his observations that there is more at stake than romance. Goss, who moved from Kenosha, WI, to Washington, D.C. to attend a Catholic seminary and become a priest, but who ended up instead as an openly gay singer/songwriter, remains concerned with the ways in which his affections touch on larger issues. He is adamant about permanence and fidelity, singing, "You're my only lover" in "Lover" and pledging to stay "Till the End," as another song title puts it. But, he asks in "Break Away," "What is love if not the search for truth?" And truth, particularly in a spiritual sense, is clearly an ongoing interest for a man who may have veered away from a formal religious vocation, but still views the world in the moral terms he embraced in his youth; he just defines them differently now. In a musical context, this results in some impassioned performances of songs that aim higher and strike deeper than your average batch of romantic ditties. - AllMusic

"Tom Goss Brings Love Back"

Tom Goss brings love back
Posted:04/16/2009 3:51 PM
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Andrew Cothern |

Tom Goss knows a thing or two about love. In fact, he created an entire album on it.

"Back To Love," the latest release from the Washington, D.C. based singer/songwriter, is an attempt to celebrate love in all its many forms – from the good to the bad.

On the road somewhere between Cincinnati and Indianapolis, Goss talks about his new album, his music and why love is so important to him.

"Back To Love," released on April 7 and produced by Mike Ofca, was made over 11 days in a small studio in Steubenville, Ohio.

"I don't know if you've been there, but there's literally nothing to do in Steubenville." Goss laughs. "I was living and working in the studio and I had no choice but to focus on getting the record done. It was great for the creative process."

Describing his music as acoustic pop, Goss says his music influences comes from singer songwriters such as Dave Matthews and David Gray.

He admits his obsession with Dave Matthews Band was the reason he first picked up a guitar, however, he points out that David Gray "saved [his] songwriting career."

"I was literally listening to Dave Matthews all day. It affected how I wrote music and the styles I used. Gray writes such amazingly beautiful and extremely simple songs. Once I started to get into his music, he really showed me that less is more and changed the way I looked at songwriting."

Originally from Wisconsin, Goss moved to D.C. five years ago to become a priest. After that didn't go as planned, he later found himself making music a full-time objective.

"I was always a musician. I was always recording music. Pieces of my first album were recorded when I was still in seminary. When I left, music was more what I wanted to focus on intently."

Goss gained a level of success with his 2008 release "Rise," where the title track was heavily featured on MTV's LOGO countdown. With "Back To Love," he hopes to reach an even wider audience.

The first single, "Till the End," has already gained widespread appeal since its release in early February. The video, which shows various couples together in bed, got over 10,000 views the first few days it was up on YouTube.

"It's not about fame or having fun, though." Goss says. "It's more about reaching people and touching people, as I share my intimate moments with people. Every night, I have people come up and say how much my music has touched them."

There's nothing ambiguous about his music. Goss' songs come from direct personal experiences. He admits that "some of them were hard to write and even harder to sing and record."

The last song on the album, the string-filled, epic sounding "Legacy To You," is an ode to his recently deceased grandfather.

"When I wrote that song, I realized I was losing more than my grandfather. I was losing everything about him as well. My grandmother died in 1990 and everyday he visited her grave. There's a severe loyalty and love involved with that. I learned a lot about what it means to be faithful and to love by his example."

Not all the songs featured are happy feel-good love songs. Goss also ventures in the darker aspects of love with "Sometimes We Fall," which is about a relationship falling apart.

"That one was hard," Goss admits. "It's mainly about watching a relationship slowly crumble as conscious decisions are being made that hurt the one you say you're in love with."

Even though the music runs the gamut of emotions, Goss is extremely pleased with the result of his work on the album.

"I'm really happy with what came out of that time. I'm so proud of this CD in many different ways. The sound … the writing … the technical parts ... everything just came off perfect."

Goss is currently promoting "Back to Love" with a 50-city tour. The Richmond date has yet to be determined but he thinks it should be sometime in June.

And after that? Goss doesn't know – although he does know that there will be more music and more touring.

"Most musicians are constantly thinking about what they're doing next. I'm focusing on right now. I have three days off in April so maybe I'll plan then."

""Rise" CD Review"

Tom Goss has finally found the sound he deserves. "Rise", his second release, was recorded and produced by veteran Jim Dugan and the two have managed to create one of the best independent releases out of the D.C. area in 2008.
For anyone who hasn't seen him live, Tom plays infectious acoustic rock with sometimes blistering riffs and melodies that elicit toe tapping and head bobbing. The opening track, "Morning Sun", establishes the groove with a tasty saxophone and gives the Tom Goss fan what they have always wanted, a drummer behind him to support the groves his songs deliver. Track 2, "Rise" is perhaps the best track on the record and gives you a glimpse of his skill with his guitar and songwriting. Messages of self-awareness and an appreciation of life permeate the tracks including, what can only be a deeply personal confession, in "A Thousand Times Before". Guitar players will be thoroughly impressed by the dizzying riff in "Bed of Clouds". Lastly, Tom surrenders one of his most beautiful songs, "King of Something Right" to producer Jim Dugan who manages to elevate a near perfect song even higher with veteran musicians and the best arrangement on the record.
Tom Goss is a professional musician and performer, touring the nation and playing prolifically in the greater D.C. area. "Rise" is easily one of the best releases this year and a great introduction to a man who has a lot to say and a wonderful way to say it.

D.C. Acoustic Underground
April, 2008 - DC Acoustic Underground

""Back To Love Is A Heartfelt Winner""

Singer song-writer Tom Goss has a solid effort here with the extremely personal album, "Back to Love." His messages are on love, life, death, society, family and religion. The album, a follow up to last year’s "Rise," is filled with alt/pop catchiness. Check out the harmonies on "Back to Arkansas," the Gin-Blossom tinged rocker "Down the Mountainside," the piano-based ballad "Sometimes We Fall" and the simple and beautiful "Lover." Overall, "Back to Love" is a heartfelt winner. Album drops April 7. - On Tap Magazine

"Perfect Delivery on "Back To Love""

The singer/songwriter genre is a great genre for anyone to explore due in part to its real life lyrics that the artist seems to draw from their own real lives to create a well-crafted lyric for any given song. Tom Goss is one of these artists that has done just that with his latest release "Back To Love…" Though the music in the genre can range, Goss chooses a very radio friendly, pop style to hammer home his lyrics about the most relatable subject there is for any listener; Love. Who hasn't been in love? Who hasn't felt the pain of love? Who hasn't wanted to run away with the one they love? These are all very simple questions with very simple answers. Everyone has experienced love of some kind and that is what makes this album such an easy listen. His relatable lyrics and passionate delivery on songs like "Til The End," where Goss calms any nerves his lover may have as he proclaims that he will be there through it all and ultimately until the end. The piano laced ballad, "Sometimes We Fall" explores the heartbreaks and the inevitable fall that comes with them even when you try to fight it. All in all he sums up the aspects and emotions of love throughout this album and makes sure that he hits every side of it. His delivery is perfect for this set of songs and with such relatable lyrics this is a disc worth checking out. Make sure to look for it upon it's release this April (2009). - Guestlist Magazine

""Rise" CD Review 1"

Former seminary student Tom Goss sings of new life on his latest EP, Rise. This out singer-songwriter's craft draws comparisons to the Beatles ( A Thousand Times Before ) and Rufus Wainwright ( King of Something Right ) . Lyrically, Goss is reminiscent of Crowded House and the overlooked outfit Phaser. Goss's EP Rise is out now via CDBaby and iTunes. - Windy City Times

"Rising Star"

Rising Star - DC Singer Songwriter Releases "Rise"

Life has changed for local singer-songwriter Tom Goss since he appeared suggestively nude on the cover of his debut album Naked Without in 2006. The self-taught, guitar-playing native of Kenosha, Wis., who originally came to Washington in the summer of 2004 to become a priest, has instead fallen further into love with his long-term partner, Mike.

Tom Goss
''I didn't used to write love songs, but I can't avoid it these days,'' Goss, 26, says of tracks that appear on his latest effort, Rise, released Jan. 8 and available at This time around, Goss swapped quantity with quality, releasing fewer tracks produced at higher quality.

That's not to say fewer tracks make for an overnight effort. Goss has been working on Rise for several months. And if you are a regular at Metro's Dupont Circle stop, you might have spotted him rising up the station's escalator over and over again during the album's photo shoot. This is a man who takes his album covers very seriously.

''If you think about rising and what kind of images you can come up with, [a Metro escalator] to me seemed like the best,'' says Goss. ''It's just so dramatic -- from the darkness to the light. It's just beautiful.''

That describes Goss' own journey since surviving the year and a half he spent at a seminary in D.C. as an aspiring priest, a topic he's reluctant to discuss in detail.

''It just wasn't where I belonged,'' Goss says of the internal conflict he encountered as a gay man in a place where he felt discrimination. Still, the experience didn't destroy his faith -- he remains spiritual, noting that ''spirituality is having a sense that there's something beyond you, and religion is adhering that to a specific set of rules.''

And while Goss has turned his music into love, he's turned his spirituality into compassion, having launched a church-based program to aid homeless Washingtonians. - Metro weekly

"Rocking Out - Rise CD Release Party"

Some artists are content to celebrate a new CD with just a press release, but local gay musician Tom Goss set his sights a little higher for the debut of his upcoming new LP, “Rise.” He recruited D.C. based lesbian musicians Mara Levi and Michelle Burleson for Outrock, a combination CD release party and gay music festival that is being held at Arlington’s Iota Club and Café on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

“A year ago I decided, ‘Hey, it would be cool if I could do [a show with local] gay and lesbian artists,’” Goss says. “I’m a gay man doing music, trying to find my niche and wondering if there were other people out there like me trying to do the same thing.”

Goss had previously met Burleson when he booked her at a venue on Capitol Hill and later shared a stage with her at last year’s Chesapeake Pride, and he knew Levi by reputation only until the two met while playing at Capital Pride in 2007. Goss had already put together two gay music showcases, the most recent being at Solly’s on U Street in July, and planned Outrock as soon as he found a date that worked for all three musicians. All the artists say it’s important to provide spaces for like-minded musicians to play together.

“Tom is very community minded,” Burleson says. “You make friends with certain musicians from the circuit, you make friends and help each other out.”

Before becoming part of the queer music scene, Goss arrived in D.C. from Kenosha, Wis., in 2004 to enter the Catholic seminary. Goss went into the seminary hoping to “reconcile alienated Catholics” and wound up on “the other side of the spectrum,” leaving the seminary altogether. However, he hasn’t completely abandoned his faith in favor of his music. In fact, his self-described take on “acoustic, pop/rock” still shows signs of his religious education.

“I would lie if I said spirituality didn’t play a strong part in my music,” says Goss. “I do my best to cloud it as much as possible, but I can’t help it. It seems like when I try to write church songs they come out as rock songs and when I try to write rock songs they come out as rock songs with a spiritual bent.”

WHILE NOT RELEASING a new CD, Burleson will be debuting a slew of new music with her backing band, which is made up of bassist Ed Morrissey and drummer Bryan Wyatt. She’s played solo acoustic sets before, but was surprised to hear fans categorize her new music somewhere closer to alt-country.

“It’s definitely a turn from this loud, bang it, bang it stuff we were playing before,” Burleson says. “But I’m really happy, it’s better than the stuff we were playing before.”

Levi might be the highest profile artist playing Outrock, having performed on the main stage at Capital Pride and organized queer music festival Phase Fest at lesbian bar Phase One this past August. She toured nationally in 2007 and says she’s excited to regain her home court advantage at the Iota Club. Far from being burned out, Levi maintains that an abundance of touring actually makes her local shows stronger.

“All that touring is just extra practice and it makes my shows more exciting,” she says. “It means that I’ve been working on all sorts of new things that people here haven’t heard. Plus, people in the audience are my friends, it makes for a more comfortable event for me. I tend to be more goofy with my friends around.”

All three artists have expressed excitement about playing at Iota. Though it’s a bit off the beaten path of established D.C. music venues, Goss feels that the Northern Virginia space ranks alongside the Black Cat, 9:30 club and Falls Church’s Jammin’ Java as one of the top four spaces for live music in the Washington area.

Goss also says that Iota’s management was unsure about the artists’ ability to draw audiences.

“The most frustrating part was convincing them that ‘Hey, I have three gay artists and we’re all working together to do music in D.C. and people care about that,’” he says. “The more I play, the more it’s obvious to me that there’s people out there who are looking for music, whether it’s rock or pop or whatever, written by a gay or lesbian from a perspective of someone who’s gay or lesbian. It’s not that we lead different lives … but we know what it means to be alienated from society, from church, from friends, but because of that we do have different perspectives. “

The involved artists also expect a well-mixed crowd, between both men and women and gay and straight attendees. Though gay men and lesbians provide a built-in fan base for Goss, Levi and Burleson, the musicians say that straight music fans will be able to overcome set notions of sexuality and simply enjoy a show that won’t exclude anyone.

“I’ll play for anybody,” says Burleson. “I’ll play for beer.”

- The Washington Blade

"Profile: Tom Goss"

Exhilarating, exalting and riddled with jubilation, Tom Goss' music inspires feelings of joy and enough gay pride to rival the excitement of your first LGBT festival. With the voice of an angel and the looks of a movie star, Goss has been blazing his way throughout the gay community, playing clubs and coffeehouse alike with the same fever that burns through his songs.

Tom Goss' life reads like the plot for a queer Cinderella story. A native of Kenosha, Wis., Goss was a gymnast, then a wrestler, then a seminary student. With a background like that, it seems only natural that he'd come out as gay, become fabulous and find his true calling as a pop star. Like a finalist for "American Idol," Tom is fresh-faced and genuine, eager to thrust his musical message on an unsuspecting world.

Unlike many in the acoustic-music genre whose songs, albeit poignant and meaningful, contain the excitement of Pilates night in an old folks' home, Goss gets out with his guitar and rocks, inspiring his listeners like the clergyman he almost was -- to live and love and be happy and proud. His rhythmic guitar work and engaging vocals bring life to songs that draw their listeners in to reflect, evaluate and leave enlightened.

His new CD, "Rise," is jam-packed with gay love songs, gay Pride songs and more gay love songs. Thoughtful and gentle acoustic ballads are offset by full-band rockers, ripe with blues harmonica and butt-shakin' melodies. The six-song EP is professionally produced, with a dynamic musical range from small intimate soul-touchers to big Dave Matthews-esque pop explosions that are sure to induce fervent rainbow flag-shaking in all who listen.

"Rise" feels like an emotional awakening, both for Goss and the average gay man. Lyrics based in love and loss, surrounding what seems to be a series of fair-weather lovers, take a fresh and unjaded look at matters of the heart. Never one to depress, Goss, like a highly sought-after motivational speaker, always somehow manages to fill you with joy and optimism, even when the love has been lost and Goss is alone again. Tracks like "Rise" and "Come Around" are pleas to the guy that got away, while "King of Something Right" and "Morning Sun" keep the hope of love alive, whether it's the love of a special person or the concept of love in general.

Goss' music is a joy to listen to and his message is delightful. He writes important songs for the worldwide LGBT community, filled with inspiring messages you'll carry with you for years to come. With every song displaying hope, joy, love, pride and survival, each note brings with it the promise of happier times, better lovers, and more joyful days -- and he does it all in a fun way that you can dance to, clap your hands to, or slap the steering wheel to; while you drive down the road with the top down and the Tom Goss blaring on the stereo. -


The Politics of Love - April 2010
Back To Love - April 2009
Rise 2008
Naked Without 2006



Recent Highlights:
3 national tours, over 60,000 miles and 100 cities in the past 16 months.

Over 150+ stations playing "Back To Love" nationwide.
"Back To Love" named "Album of the Year" by Radio Crystal Blue in New York City.

"Till The End" The music video has generated over 100,000 online views and was #1 on MTV's LOGO for 6 weeks.
"Rise" The music video - reaches #2 on MTV's LOGO.
"Rise" The music video - nominated for a Washington Area Music Award

Tom grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He spent his childhood in the gym with his gymnast parents and brothers, but switched to wresting in junior high, a better outlet for some serious teenage aggression, and stuck with it through college.

Music was another, more enduring passion. His mom bought him a guitar as a high-school graduation present, and he quickly taught himself to play. Inspired by Dave Matthews and David Gray, he soon started writing songs of his own.

Through it all, Tom felt a strong spiritual calling. While at the University of Central Missouri, studying to become a teacher, Tom decided that he was meant to be a priest instead. He moved to Washington, DC in 2004 to enter Catholic seminary. It didn't go as planned and, disillusioned by the institution in which he had placed his faith, he chose to abandon religious training, but not his quest.

Back in secular life, Tom sought new ways to work toward social justice, the issue that had led him to the church in the first place. He took a job running a breakfast program for the homeless. He began to build a life with his partner channeling his message of love, hope and reconciliation through his music.

Don't expect hymns. Tom offers up dynamic acoustic rock featuring muscular guitar, hooky melodies and a uniquely powerful voice. If the 28 year old has any patron saints, they are Jack Johnson, Damien Rice, Ben Folds, and Joss Stone.

Since April 2006, when he released his self-produced debut, Naked Without, Tom has played scores of coffeehouses, bars, festivals and other events, honing his skills along the way. With the April 2009 release of his third CD, Back To Love, Tom demonstrates just how far he's come. Dubbed "A Heartfelt Winner" with songs that "aim higher and strike deeper" Back To Love is reaching a wide array of listeners. Till The End the first single and video notched over 50,000 plays in its first 3 days and is quickly becoming an anthem for the marriage equality movement (Watch it at

Tom's songs echo themes of rebirth and renewal, of love and loss and what lies beyond. It's a playlist for anyone on a journey from darkness to light.