“I can’t control what the external world will throw at me, I can only meet the challenges of the world head on and with an open heart. We are all creatures of limitless potential, that’s what is so awesome about being a human being.” Tom Rhodes (
GETTING TO KNOW TOM RHODES
Tell me about your song “It’s Still True”..
The song is about the way that we (as a society) have distinct expectations of women. They are girls, then women, then mothers, then grandmothers… they are defined by these. With men it is easier to think of them as boys, then men, then their profession, then maybe as a father or grandfather. I think that women are capable of much more than much of society gives them credit for, and I wanted to remind my friends who have kids that their dreams aren’t over now that they are a mother… I still see their potential to grow. We all have that, throughout our entire life. At any moment we can become the thing that we want to become, we just have to open ourselves up to the possibility and work towards it.
When I want to listen to live music I ….
The Bay Area has an amazing music scene right now, but not a lot of great venues to showcase it. There are a few pretty amazing ones though, check out Viracocha in San Francisco, or Fenix in the North Bay for amazing music any night of the week. As far as fun things that I do that aren’t music related in The Bay Area it’s almost always outdoor things, running with my dog or exploring with my camera.
I like the inter-connectivity of thought that is out there. We are seeing a whole new world wake up to social issues from the ease of sharing. As far as challenges for me the main ones are keeping up with the rapid shifts in rules associated with the different Social Media outlets… Facebook mainly. The rush to monetize social media by the companies that it runs through has changed the landscape quite a bit lately.
Breaking into the mainstream…
This is a huge question, but the big sum up of it is that the traditional media streams are on complete lockdown by the larger media providers and it costs a tremendous amount of money to break into that. It’s also that there is a HUGE glut on the market of independent artist… there are just so many people putting out music that it is almost impossible to break out above the din.
– I’m influenced by….
Paul Simon. He has a lyrical and melodic sense that has blown me away since I was just a boy. I finally saw him live on my birthday a few years ago and there was a pretty intense earthquake right before he went on… he was cool as a cucumber and his performance was amazing.
I want to be remembered by….
I want to leave the world with some songs that talk about truths that will exist long after I am gone and have existed since long before I got here. I don’t get to vote on how I will be remembered so I don’t worry about that, but I would be very happy if people found those truths in my songs and saved themselves a world of heartache by following some of my advice.
Negative energy is… |
Well, everyone is faced with the blues and people who are downers… I try to keep myself focused when that happens. I have the advantage of actually believing what I’m saying to be true, so it’s pretty hard to shake me when it comes to people being negative about my art. With that said, I can count on one hand the number of negative interactions I have had regarding my music in the last 10 years.
Is money important?
Money is an issue in the world we live it, and frankly I am almost always behind the eight ball when it comes to making enough to get by, but I need so little in my life to be happy that it’s pretty easy to keep my expectations low. I do keep money out of my creative process as far as writing goes, but the truth is that you play the songs that they will pay you to hear… so I have left songs off of albums in the past simply because they weren’t as catchy, even though I thought that they were really good tunes. I am making an EP of some of those cuts right now.
When it comes to being trendy I steer as clear as I can. Trends are ephemeral and ever shifting… the truth is the truth no matter what happens. I’m going to continue to try to stick to that.
I am not religious and I don’t believe in fate, but I do think that living in a positive way makes your life easier, nicer, and helps those around you. I don’t know enough about it to tell you that I’m right and religion or fate are wrong, I just try to be the best person that I can be every morning when I wake up regardless of whether it will bring me my dreams… When it comes to getting those I subscribe to the “work your ass off” school of thought.
I’m thankful for…
All of it, the good and the bad. It is all amazing.
In 5 years….
Alive, creating, comfortable with the people I love close to me.
Looking at the bigger picture…
Every. Damn. Day. This question is so broad that I can’t really answer it here, but I will keep it to this. It’s all one thing… all of it, and no matter how big you think that you are, you aren’t… but you are a part of all of it, and that’s pretty amazing.
Dealing with conflicts…
I meet it head on when it can’t be defused. I’m a rip the bandaid off kind of guy, with that said I don’t have a lot of conflict because I tend to remain very flexible in my thinking. Conflict tends to arise when two parties are locked into positions and are incapable of moving. I can’t remember the last time that I had a major conflict.
Do I have Limits..
In a practical sense, of course, but in a philosophical sense, no. I can’t control what the external world will throw at me, I can only meet the challenges of the world head on and with an open heart. We are all creatures of limitless potential, that’s what is so awesome about being a human being.
When you strip away the fluff of pop, throw out the country flair, remove the cynicism of alternative, and turn up the beauty of americana, you begin to have an idea of where Tom’s music falls. Tom Rhodes plays real, honest music that dives down to the heart of the matter and holds you there until you realize it’s where we all belong. With his latest release, “With or Without” (2014), Tom has moved his music further back on the dial and created a warm place for his raspy road worn voice and deceptively simple guitar.
Since his first self titled solo release in 2004, Tom has put out three more albums – each with a sound of its own. “No Apologies” (2006) moves from rock to reggae to country within 15 songs. “Better Son” (2011) planted footing in the Alt-Country/Folk scene, gaining nods as one of the top 20 albums of 2011 (AMDWHH) and Top 5 Country albums (Nerve.com). With his latest release, there is another turn: bringing in big vocal harmonies and an amazing backing band.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Tom grew up mostly in the DC area playing in bars and clubs at 16. He moved to New York City in late 2003 where he came into his own as a solo artist and songwriter, releasing two albums there. In 2006, he moved to Wilmington, NC where he worked on writing and getting his songs published on Network TV, Cable, and independent movies. In 2011, he and his wife and dog Barkley sold almost everything that they owned and packed up to move out to San Francisco, CA where they now reside.
Tom continues to play shows all over the United States and Europe looking for new audiences to help spread his music and loves making new friends along the way. With hundreds of unreleased songs, and thousands of stories still waiting to be told, there will be years of content to come from this life-long troubadour.