"Vocally and instrumentally they seem to mesh together seamlessly and effortlessly."

Sing Out


Tom Sauber

Tom Sauber does it all, and you won't hear anyone do it better. He's a master musician in a variety of styles, a multi-instrumentalist (banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin) and singer, well grounded in tradition, with a comprehensive grasp of style and an exceptional ability to teach.

Photo by Dave Allen

In the 30-plus years Tom has devoted to playing traditional music, the cast of characters with whom he has associated reads like a who’s who in old-time, bluegrass, and Cajun music. He is particularly known for his long-time partnerships with Oklahoma fiddler Earl Collins (with whom he recorded the classic LP That’s Earl) and North Carolina banjo picker Eddie Lowe, both now deceased.

Old-time fans have heard Tom’s music on his recently released CD with harmonica virtuoso Mark Graham (Thought I Heard it Blow), on his recording with Dirk Powell and John Herrmann (One-Eyed Dog), or through his performances with former Fuzzy Mountain String Band members Blanton Owen and Tom Carter. Bluegrassers know of his work with Byron Berline, John Hickman, and Alan Munde. He has also performed with cowboy musician Skip Gorman, and Cajun accordionists Joe Simien, Wilfred Latour, and Jo-el Sonnier. He has even appeared on a recent Weird Al Yankowitz recording.

Tom’s contributions to traditional music include hosting a radio show for 12 years on station KPFK in Los Angeles. He holds a masters degree in folklore, and contributed musical analyses to the notes for two landmark recordings: the anthology of Mississippi fiddle music Great Big Yam Potatoes, and Eck Robertson, Famous Cowboy Fiddler. He is also an exceptional teacher who is in demand at the major traditional music workshops across the country.

A native of southern California, Tom has helped bring authentic traditional music to the film industry. In the late 1970s, Ry Cooder and David Lindley recruited him for a role as a musician in The Long Riders. He has also appeared in Bound for Glory, Geronimo, and the television show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

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Tom Sauber