Tom's arty photo

TOM YATES began his musical life at age four, and abruptly ended it at the same age when a Sunday school teacher told him he sang too loud. He found his voice again, much, much later... At age ten he played "Oh Susannah" on the harmonica at a neighborhood talent show. It would be another seven years before he performed again on harmonica, after much woodshedding to learn blues harp. He still plays blues harp when the mood strikes. He was thrust into junior high orchestra as a bassist in seventh grade. His scholastic orchestral career ended at the end of his junior year in high school, when he was kicked out of orchestra, permanently, for publicly impugning the intelligence and ability of his director. He can still play bass, and owns several, of one kind or another...

Cut to that much later time...During the 1980's he played blues harp, bass and sang backup with an oldies band, The Dialtones. Some of the many sidemen in the revolving membership eventually went pro after that experience--not because of it. From 1989-2000, Tom had the great honor of singing baritone in the a cappella quartet, WKKY. If WKKY had skipped the Olympics and turned pro, the world would be a better place, he is certain...

Also during those two decades, he picked up an absurd number of instruments and played them. Most of them he brought home, and still possesses. (Note: This is not unusual behavior for musicians.) He studied classical guitar for three years; learned to play the mountain dulcimer; bought a couple of mandolins; taught himself lapsteel slide guitar; practiced circular breathing on a real didgeridoo until he saw spots and his whole head buzzed. He also started collecting folk flutes, beginning in the 70's, when someone brought him a Generation pennywhistle from England. Then there was another...then a bansuri from Nepal...and then an ocarina...and then an asubio from Spain...and then...and then...

He is thankful and grateful to be playing these days as a therapeutic musician. Music heals.