Americana

Cult heroes: Dylan’s a big fan, so why isn’t Tom Paley a folk celebrity?

Photo Credit: The Guardian
Cult heroes: Dylan’s a big fan, so why isn’t Tom Paley a folk celebrity?

Tom Paley is a legend in the arena of folk music. He was a huge influence on great singers such as Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, and Jerry Garcia. He’s almost 90, and still writing and playing (he plays over 6 different instruments).

Tom started out, interestingly, as a math teacher. He learned to play music on the side, getting into the folk music scene in Washington Square. He met Woody Guthrie there, and Woody liked Tom’s style, so they played together often.

He recorded his first full album in 1953. Later he joined the New Lost City Ramblers, who became extremely influential in the folk music scene. After that Tom moved to Erope where he started the New Deal String Band and gigged all over the place. He then started a record label (Hornbeam) and started releasing new music.

Pretty good huh. Music stays with you no matter how old you are. Tom’s in his 80s now and is still coming out with new stuff. You can check out one of his songs here:

 

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