Tom Begich | Cool Blue Light

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Folk: Folk Pop Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Cool Blue Light

by Tom Begich

Acoustic Americana, Folk Rock, with a hint of Blues and a scent of Jazz find their way into this Singer/songwriter's CD -- these are the songs of a storyteller.
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Cool Blue light
4:23 $0.99
2. Fat Moon
5:01 $0.99
3. Neon Cross
4:20 $0.99
4. Borderline
5:21 $0.99
5. Bakersfield
5:21 $0.99
6. To Be With You
2:39 $0.99
7. Charleston
3:23 $0.99
8. Paradise
3:50 $0.99
9. Lucinda's Dream
3:48 $0.99
10. Like a Fire
3:37 $0.99
11. Journey's End
6:08 $0.99
12. Banbury Road
3:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
About Tom Begich and "Cool Blue Light"

The bohemian son of a family steeped in Alaska politics and the product of a life of music, Tom Begich's music resonates with stories and the conflicts of the human condition.

Part of the Alaska music scene in the early 1980's, Tom dropped out and tuned in to the world of politics and business for a decade before finding his way back to local coffee shops, street corners, and music festivals. Since returning to performing and recording, Tom has opened for recording artists Stephen Fearing, Don Morrell, Paul Geremia, and Kim Richey. Tom also hosted a monthly Songwriter's Showcase in his hometown of Anchorage for three years and has performed live on numerous radio stations and on the nationally syndicated radioshow "West Coast Live" (October 1999).

Tom has released four CDs, "Such a World" in 1997, "Hotel Metropol" in 1999, and "Albuquerque Road" in 2001. His latest CD, "Cool Blue Light", was released in 2005 and has already garnered favorable reviews.

Tom continues to play in Alaska and small venues throughout the country. Citing musicians as different as Taj Mahal, Harry Chapin, and Christopher Parkening as influences, Tom combines an easy picking style with blues rhythms and storytelling skill to create a musical montage that is always interesting to the ear. His music includes a wide-variety of music ranging from acoustic instrumentals to blues and folk rock. A musician with a wholly original sound, Tom Begich will keep you humming for more long after he's done.

Tom Begich
A 'Cool Blue Light' shines bright for low-key singer-songwriter
Leave the glaring limelight for others; Tom Begich prefers a more subtle hue. And the singer-songwriter explores that idea on his latest disc, "Cool Blue Light." The lyrics and music suggest rather than demand, inviting the listener to pause and reminisce on life, if just for the moment, and find romance in the shadow of humanity while quietly dabbling in every day situations.
"'Cool Blue Light' is a raw, an honest and a mature work of art," local poet and longtime friend Keith Liles said at the November release party. His poetry can be found on the cut, "Journey's End."
Begich also carries on the tradition of the story song - a method popularized by one of his greatest influences, Harry Chapin. That folk legend's "talking blues" style is evident in Begich's music. Like Chapin, the Anchorage musician captivates the audience - making the music and his story-songs almost tangible with the simple delivery of words and rhythm.
The album also signals a new threshold - a higher level of production, lyricism and accessibility.
"Cool Blue Light taught me to listen better," Begich said. "It brought me to a greater level of confidence."
Producer Don Morrell, who worked with Begich on "Cool Blue Light" as well as his 2001's "Albuquerque Road," shares that confidence. Begich's honesty and work ethic impressed the owner of Toneworks studio.
"Tom cares enough about his work to spend the time to get it done right."
He's also an artist who doesn't allow ego to stand in the way of hearing new perspectives and applying them to the music, Morrell added.
In turn, Morrell allowed the music to be more accessible to people, both musically and lyrically, Begich said.
But creating new music isn't the only item on his plate these days. Recovering from February knee surgery that forced him to reschedule a California, Oregon and Nevada tour, he is more than ready to trade in his crutches for wings. Trading in crutches or taking chances is a familiar concept. In January Begich abandoned the security of an eight-to-five career to focus on his music.
Was it freeing? Yes.
Frightening? That too.
"You fear the thing you love the most," he said.
At some point, though, embracing that fear becomes necessary for happiness, he added.
Still, Begich carries a love for community development, and he has stayed involved. Working on contract, he has managed to keep doing the job he loves without putting his music on the back burner. He answers daily calls from tribal councils and community leaders, but now gives no less priority to calls from Morrell or other music comrades.
In fact, Begich now enjoys a symbiosis between his community work and his music. Next week, for instance, he flies to New Hampshire for a community development seminar, and while there he plans to look into booking gigs for his next trip. In this way, he has carved quite a few niches across the country where people are growing more and more familiar with his music.
In addition to his numerous civil community development projects, Begich has gone to great lengths to expand the arts community. For a relatively small city, he finds Anchorage racked with talent. Unfortunately, it's often under expressed and underdeveloped, he said.
To that extent, Begich has done his best to turn the tables. Until recently he played host to an artist showcase at Side Street Espresso, giving local musicians an outlet for expression. He firmly believes in the spirit of collaboration between Alaskan artists, and promotes that spirit whenever possible. At gigs he often shares the stage with friends like bassist Scott Kiefer or fellow folk artists, Terry and Jerry Holder....
Begich expects no reward or accolade for these endeavors - it is enough to know that his work has helped a community expand and excel, he said. And the music is no different. His greatest reward is to see folks humming along to the melodies. At Side Street Espresso his music often plays in the background, and it is easy to find patrons familiar with the tunes.
Far less concerned with fame and fortune, Begich's primary goal is that his message gets out.
"Everything eventually turns to dust. Maybe the music lasts a little longer. I don't need to be here for that."

Music career heats up with 'Cool Blue Light'

Daily News correspondent

Published: November 19, 2004
Last Modified: November 26, 2004 at 02:44 AM
Folks around town pretty much pigeonhole Tom Begich as the mayor's older brother. But the rest of the world -- from Sitka to Montana, Vermont and beyond -- knows him as a talented singer- songwriter.
"People come up to me at shows and say, 'We knew you played music, we just never figured you played it that well,'?" Begich said last week between packing for a midnight flight to Washington, D.C., and fielding questions about his CD-release celebration on Saturday at his favorite watering hole, Side Street Espresso.
Living under the shadow of the family legacy has proved to be good and bad, but the hard part is carving out a separate identity, Begich said.
"That gets easier to do the further away from Anchorage I get."
Until recently, achieving that end required meshing two disparate lives -- professional and musical.
Begich works in the bureaucratic world of development, be it juvenile crime issues in communities across the country or helping people in Bush villages learn to sustain themselves. He also attends conferences and chalks up thousands of frequent-flier miles. That's where the music comes in.
Every hotel has a lobby, so Begich sets up with his guitar, plays some tunes and maybe sells a couple CDs. He also arranges gigs in advance.
That way, he uses his business acumen to offset travel costs while developing audiences on the side.
"Unlike most Anchorage musicians, I can perform in places Outside and then come back within a short period of time."
This hectic schedule has taken its toll. And more and more, the music loomed as a full-time gig. In a now-or-never, I'm-not-getting-any-younger frame of mind, Begich will quit his job next month -- the one with great health benefits -- to devote a year or so to music. He has bought a vehicle to carry his equipment and plans to tour Northern California and Nevada in February and March and Vermont and western Massachusetts in April.
And no second-guessing.
Yeah, right.
"Sure, there's a little bit of uncertainty," Begich said, his usual smooth demeanor ruffling. "For now, if I can get 10 or 15 people into a room, then I'm happy."
So far, those small, intimate crowds are paying off.
Radio stations in Montana and New England are already spinning tunes from his fourth CD, "Cool Blue Light." And the orders are coming in, although the album hasn't been released. He'll also send copies to more than 200 stations across the country.
"I've got a list and a lot of product. I've been thinking about this chance for three years."
In keeping with the risk-taking motif, "Cool Blue Light" stands as the disc Begich always hoped to record. That means more acoustics and no compromises, and, of course, the writing's the best of his career, he said.
And his live shows ain't too shabby, either.
At a gig last year in Sitka, Begich composed a song on the spot that included such words volunteered from the audience as "succulent," "spank," "genitals" and the name of a local politician.
"He put together a funny little ditty that got the audience laughing their heads off," a reviewer said on "On top of everything, it sounded good too."
As far as his guitar picking, Begich and his teacher at Steller Secondary School realized that expertise after three lessons. From then on, he taught other students and wrote songs. The passion petered out, though, around age 21 and stayed dormant until his mid-30s, oddly enough about the time of his divorce. Since then, Begich has honed his craft whenever and wherever possible.
The fruits of the past decade's work will be displayed at the CD-release celebration at Side Street with several local musicians helping out.
"I can't charge anything for this show," he said. "I just want to gather friends around, play a couple sets and mingle. And if anyone wants to buy a CD, well then, that's OK."
Free-lancer J. Mark Dudick is a former editor of 8 magazine.



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