Each performance by multi-instrumentalist Tom Tracy is unique and like no other. His impeccable matching of exotic and unusual instruments which accompany his smooth vocals creates the perfect arrangement to complement the song. Performing both original and obscure cover tunes, Tom accompanies himself with an arsenal of instruments typically a different instrument for each song.
Tom Tracy grew up in Southampton, PA, a suburb north of Philadelphia. His first onstage appearance was in 1970, at the age of 10, performing an uncannily accurate imitation of Tiny Tim’s version of the 1930’s classic, Tiptoe Through the Tulips - a song he still occasionally performs. Increasing his skills on various stringed instruments, Tom mastered the 5-string banjo in his teen years and began teaching banjo and guitar privately. When he realized that the instruments he wanted either didn’t exist or he simply couldn’t afford them, he began building his own.
Now more than 20 years since constructing his first electric guitar, this self-taught ethnomusicologist and skilled luthier continues to build, refine, and/or repair most of the instruments used in his performances: from the simple Hawaiian pu’ili, or Brazilian rainstick, to the more complex stringed instruments such as the acoustic slide guitar, Turkish saz, African kora, cümbüs, cittern, oud, or bouzouki.
Sometimes witty, sometimes zany, always entertaining. “I want to think of my performances as fun, thought-provoking, and musically educational.” In concert, Tom not only accompanies his voice with unique instrumentation, but he effortlessly combines folk, blues, rock and bluegrass traditions with musical styles from around the world, often taking songs to new plateaus.
One of my favorite moments was when the band finished playing, and as we stood on stage at the Wilmington Opera House (for the Golden Gospel Awards), listening to the audience singing back the lyrics to our songs. Musical goosebumps.
Guitars (acoustic & electric); lap steel; Kona & Weissenborn-style Hawaiian slide guitar; banjo; cittern; all sizes of sazes; bouzouki; cumbus, yayli tambur; guzcheng; kora; ukulele; sitar, piano/synth, Native American Flute, other stuff I'm forgetting.