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Tom Neilson In Concert
Fiddler's Dream Coffeehouse
Phoenix, AZ
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Tom Neilson In Concert
Born on a dairy farm, Tom was raised with long days in the barns & hayfields of upstate NY. Soloing in the Sand Hill Methodist Church at the age of 3, he first learned performing arts under the tutelage of his choir director and church organist mother. His undergrad work was in education at SUNY Cortland. He studied voice with Guy Webb, who told him that one day he could make a living with his voice. But by graduation in 1970, Tom had concluded that he had more in common with Vietnamese farmers than he had with the Wall Street brokers who were sponsoring the war. An anti-war organizer in the 60s, he left the US for Colombia where he lived until 1974. He re-settled in Northern Idaho, where he, among other things, was Athletic Director for Special Olympics.

Back in the US, Tom was a tri-lingual counselor in the Alcoholism Unit at Cambridge City Hospital while getting his M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern. At Northeastern, Tom soloed on his second record (vinyl) of Classical/Contemporary music. As a classical vocalist, he has performed at the Washington Cathedral, New York Citys Town Hall, Bostons Symphony Hall, and the New England Conservatory of Music. He continued his academic habit by enrolling in the doctoral program in International Education at UMass Amherst, but after one year accepted a position in Kenya where he worked as a rural development consultant and Training Director for Peace Corps. From there it was a short hop to Somalia with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and in 1985 and 86 he was in Nicaragua working with Construyamos Juntos as an interpreter and carpenters assistant to build a school in San Pedro de Lovago, a village that was attacked twice by Contras.

Struck by the blatant US political and media censorship and misrepresentation of his work with the UN in Somalia, Nicaragua, and elsewhere, Tom integrated his experiences into a doctoral dissertation examining US political/economic hegemony in the Horn of Africa, as well as in the rest of the world. That was in 88, the same year that his music friends, Dave McCurry, Bonnie Mullinex, and Mark Lynd told him that he should record his music.

Tom provides a voice for those who believe in the power of folk music to effect change. His award-winning songs of humor and compassion have been performed in 21 countries on 5 continents. His lyrics are celebrated for their sophistication, political astuteness, & wit. Combining art with activism, he has appeared with Medea Benjamin, Cynthia McKinney, Amy Goodman, Cindy Sheehan, Cesar Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Ray McGovern, Howard Zinn, David Cobb, many others, & played at the Martin Luther King Center in Havana, Cuba.

His travels are reflected in his songs, intertwined with farm roots and a fervent commitment to social justice, as he writes about historical and current events. He has been at the for-front in helping communities organize against water privatization, mountain top removal, nuclear energy, incinerators, GMOs, fracking, & toxic waste. At Kerrville, he was referred to as the Jon Stewart of folk music.

He plays at union halls, colleges, conferences, cafes, house concerts, and has performed for countless benefits and causes. His music has been used in documentaries, TV shows, stage and street theater as he tells the stories of peoples struggles against greed & violence, interjecting a good deal of levity along the way. If you ask him, he'll tell you he's just a farm boy with a guitar who loves a good ball game and human rights.


Fiddler's Dream Coffeehouse (Ver)
1702 E. Glendale Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85020
United States


Artes > Performance
Música > Folk
Música > Mundial
Música > Indie
Música > Cantante/Cantautor

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