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
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.