Tom was born on an upstate NY dairy farm, where he grew up milking cows, shoveling manure, and throwing hay. He is a dancer, organic farmer, and basketball coach.
A classical vocal soloist since childhood, Tom now has nine folk recordings. He has opened for Dennis Kucinich, Amy Goodman, Ralph Nader, Cesar Chavez, and played at the Martin Luther King Center in Havana, Cuba. He has also played at New York City's Town Hall, Washington National Cathedral, Boston's Symphony Hall and the New England Conservatory of Music with tenor solos on two classical albums.
Folksinger, songwriter, activist, historian, and educator, Tom provides a voice for all who believe in the power of music to effect change. His award-winning songs of humor, compassion and political affairs have been performed in 12 countries on 5 continents. His lyrics are celebrated for their sophistication, political astuteness, and wit.
Recently selected as a Finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival, he was referred to as the "Jon Stewart of folk music." With long standing involvements with 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 and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Daniel Shays Daniel Shays An anti-war organizer in the 60s, Tom left the country in 1970 and spent over a decade working and traveling around the world, mostly in Africa and South America. These experiences are reflected in his songs about Central America and the beginning of World War 2 in Spain. His original works, parodies of popular tunes, well known freedom songs, and poetry draw the listener into his musical response to globalization.
Root Beer Makes Me Burp is a tender and thoughtful chronicle of songs written for the children in his life.
Known locally as the Bard Insurgent, Tom is a veteran of stage and street theater, with his writing, acting, and directing. His music reflects his involvement with heroin addicts, the poor, human rights, safe energy, and liberation movements from Nicaragua to Eritrea. His writing tells the stories of peoples' struggles against greed and violence.
Tom has played at music festivals, universities, national conventions, conferences, cafes, and at political and social gatherings. He particularly enjoys the personal connections provided by house concerts and has performed for countless benefits and causes.
Tom lives with his son in Montague, MA
Tom Neilson's Official Website