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About Me

City

Greenfield

State

MA

Country

US

Bio

Born on a dairy farm, Tom was raised with the long days of hard work in the barns and hayfields of upstate New York. Coach, historian, and educator, Tom provides a voice for all those who believe in the power of folk music to effect change. His award-winning songs of humor and compassion on 11 CDs have been performed in 19 countries on 5 continents. His lyrics are celebrated for their sophistication, political astuteness, and wit.
Combining art with activism, he has appeared with Cynthia McKinney, Amy Goodman, Cindy Sheehan, Cesar Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader (introducing Ralph at the National Convention), Ray McGovern, Howard Zinn, Denis Kucinich, and played at the Martin Luther King Center in Havana, Cuba. A classical vocalist in his youth, he has performed as a soloist at the Washington Cathedral, New York City’s Town Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the New England Conservatory of Music. At Kerrville, Tom was referred to as the Jon Stewart of folk music.
Tom has spent over a decade working around the world, mostly in Africa and South America. These experiences are reflected in his songs. He has been at the for-front in helping communities organize against water privatization, mountain top removal, nuclear energy, incinerators, and coal company waste.
A veteran of stage and street theater with his writing, acting, and directing, he plays at festivals, union halls, colleges, national conferences, cafes, house concerts, and at political and social gatherings. Seven of his songs have been used in documentaries, as he tells the stories of people’s struggles against greed and violence, interjecting a good deal of levity along the way.

“Politically cutting-edge, incisive, warm, & very funny; Raucous political satire &, quick wit, had everyone laughing & engaged.” Cathy Gilbert, Miami Dade Green Party“

“Creative & compelling; skewers the outrageous behavior of the greedy & powerful in corporations, the media, & government.” Ray Korona, People’s Voice Café Collective, New York City

“Does a great job of reminding people of what is really important, and the power of folk music to say it.” Michael Stock, WLRN, Miami, FL

Basics

First Name

Tom

Last Name

Neilson

Nickname

tom-neilson