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Tom Neilson
NEWS   Hello friends. Please go to my website and view the calendar to follow my tour schedule. I'll be traveling and performing throughout the south and southwest up into California through March of 2013. The tour will end with 2 weeks in Hawaii. Please let your friends in these places know I'm headed their way. Peace, tom
» go to the music page for more
play lo-fi play hi-fi  Corporations Are Human
play lo-fi play hi-fi  Four Lane Highway & Mobile Homes
play lo-fi play hi-fi  First Thing I Learned About A Gun
play lo-fi play hi-fi  Atheist in the Foxhole
play lo-fi play hi-fi  Gotta Have The Balls
play lo-fi play hi-fi  Running for the Gold
play lo-fi play hi-fi  It's A Crime
play lo-fi play hi-fi  Between The Rivers
play lo-fi play hi-fi  These Colors Don't Run The World
play lo-fi play hi-fi  The Washington R-Word
Hi Folks,

The Bard Insurgent here. My comrade D.O. (the Poet Roofer) and I got that handle (The Bard Insurgents) from traveling town to town performing songs and poetry about people's lives. I've been performing since I was 3 years old, cutting my vocal chords on liturgical and classical music. I was a concert soloist as a child, when I wasn't herding cows, throwing hay and shoveling manure.
During the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam war, I began writing songs about social change. I left the country in 1970 and my dozen years in other countries, mostly in Africa & South America, have provided a global perspective to my music. My travels helped me realize that people all around the world are essentially the same in their basic life needs and their desires to live peacefully in their communities.
These experiences have informed my commitment to working for international understanding as I organize at home. A powerful way to educate and inspire is with music.
I do political satire, parody and social commentary that I hope you enjoy and share with your friends and sing together in the streets and in your living rooms. I also have a children's CD, that will leave you burping.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road,


Why this name?
It's my name.
Do you play live?
Yes, I play anywhere from coffeehouses to living rooms, union halls to classrooms.
Special moments are anytime people are working for social change and my music is helpful to them. I especially joy colleges and high schools.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
It puts music, that is otherwise censored, in the hands (ears) of the people.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
I've never been approached by a label and haven't thought much about it.
Band History:

As a folk singer/songwriter, Tom has 13 recordings with one in progress. He is a dancer, organic gardener, and basketball coach. With long standing involvements to groups working for peace and justice, you will hear his music at the gates of military bases, nuclear plants, on union lines, and to free political prisoners such as Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Bradley Manning.
Having lived much of his life outside the U.S., Tom has performed his music in 20 countries on five continents. He left the US in 1970 ("Dancing Shoes") and spent most of the next 15 years working and traveling around the world, mostly in Africa and South America. Upon returning, he crafted these experiences into a doctoral dissertation, about U.S. political economic hegemony, titled, "Self-Reliance or Dependency in the Horn of Africa."
These experiences are also reflected in his songs about Central America ("Freedom from Fear") and the beginning of World War 2 in Spain ("From Spanish Trenches"). His original works, parodies, well known freedom songs, and poetry draw the listener into his musical response to globalization. His music tells the stories of peoples' struggles against greed and violence. Known locally as the Bard Insurgent, Tom is a veteran of stage and street theater, with his writing, acting, and directing, and is well-known for his 1st Amendment concerts.
Always an environmentalist, Tom has been at the forefront in organizing and songwriting to help people working against water privatization, mountaintop removal, fracking, climate change, nuclear waste, toxic dumps and incinerators. His music has been used in eight documentaries. He does programs at colleges, high schools, and elementary schools.
In his community, he is also well-known for his work with children through his teaching and coaching. Root Beer Makes Me Burp is a tender chronicle of songs written for the children in his life, especially his son Jacob.
Your influences?
Woody Guthrie, Phill Ochs, Tom Paxton, Tom Lehrer, Victor Borge, Martha McCune, Richard Rodgers, Ethan Miller, Pat Humphries, Sandy O, Louise Mosrie, Oscar Hammerstein II, Lynn Waldron, Alan Jay Lerner, Rick Burkhardt, Charlie King
Favorite spot?
South River gorge
Equipment used:
My voice, guitar, and harmonies from the audience.
Anything else...?
Thank you to all the people who keep the music alive.
Biomess CD cover
Tom in Nashville