Tom Dean | Pennies

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United States - New Hampshire

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Folk: like Joni Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Solo Male Artist
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by Tom Dean

Folk-Rock music with a groove. Flawless production, great songs and great lyrics from longtime Devonsquare member Tom Dean.
Genre: Folk: like Joni
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Change Of Heart
4:05 $0.59
2. Sunset Town
5:45 $0.59
3. Pennies
4:50 $0.59
4. The Streets Of Montreal
4:36 $0.59
5. Ghost Music
5:28 $0.59
6. Escape And On You Go
4:00 $0.59
7. Run Down Slow
4:09 $0.59
8. That Girl Is The Moon
2:39 $0.59
9. Ebbets Field
3:36 $0.59
10. Cadillac Song
3:23 $0.59
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
..Wildfires in the hills and canyons of Los Angeles, radio ghosts, the road, redemption, Elvis, the moon, Robert Johnson, small town New England life and of course, love and all of its entanglements. These are the themes one can expect from this well traveled, seasoned songwriter and his prolific song writing partner, lyricist George Wardwell.

A member of the Atlantic Records folk-rock group Devonsquare for more than 27 years and now a powerful solo artist, Tom possesses the perfect voice and guitar style to bring his character rich songs to life in an intimate performance setting.

...Not many people stick with something for 27 years. Not unless they absolutely love what they're doing and not without some success at it. This singer/songwriter, producer and musician fits that description perfectly. In 1974 Tom embarked on a journey to New Hampshire that would change his life forever. Offered a job singing in a little pub for the summer he left Rhode Island, put everything he owned in a VW Bug and hit the road. Two years and many solo gigs later he joined the folk/rock group Devonsquare. This band was determined to write all the music they performed (after all it was the 70's and singer/songwriters were king) and in the beginning this was mostly in local bars and college pubs in the Portland Maine area.
...After ten years of touring and three independently released recordings the legendary Ahmet Ertegun, Chairman of Atlantic Records, signed Devonsquare after hearing Tom's song "Walking On Ice" from the self released CD of the same name. Devonsquare went on to record another CD "Bye Bye Route 66" for Atlantic (which spawned the critically acclaimed single "If You Could See Me Now") tour internationally and to share stages with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Peter Frampton and Steven Stills.

...Although Tom still performs occasionally with Devonsquare, his solo career is now his main focus. He has played every major music venue in the Northeast and shared the stage with artists Jonatha Brooke, Willie Porter and Mark Cohen just to name a few. His first solo release "Your Own Backyard" in 1999 brought much deserved respect for his songwriting, singing and production skills.

"Dean shows us a side of his talent that isn't always evident in his work with Devonsquare. Overall this is a strong album by a seasoned songwriter."
Scott Sutherland - Portland Press Herald

"He's simply one of the finest singer-songwriter-musicians, walking this planet today. His music is exciting, mystical, haunting, impassioned, subliminal. This has to be one of the best independent albums to come out this year."
Independent-Songwriter Magazine

...With the release of the new CD "Pennies" Tom has once again teamed up with lyricist George Wardwell to produce ten stunning songs rich in melody and lyric.

"Lately I've been going down to church a lot
I don't go in - I just walk around the block
and if I should ever get with God up face to face
I'm gonna ask him why he piled up so much
sorrow in one place." G. Wardwell

...The musicians on this project are the cream of the crop of NYC's finest: Shawn Pelton on drums ( Shawn Colvin, Saturday Night Live Band) Michael Visceglia on bass (Suzanne Vega) and some of the Northeast's most respected: Kevin Barry on guitar (Paula Cole) Don Campbell (banjo & vocals) Joyce Andersen (violin & vocals) Tom Yoder (violin & mandolin).

...Pop culture may come and go like the weather but great songs and great singers will always be remembered. Tom Dean writes great songs and performs them like no one else can.



to write a review

Pennies .... Worth every cent.
Tom Dean and company have produced a real gem. "Pennies" is as enjoyable a listen as you can find. Rich and smooth, with a hint of jamming tucked into the mix. Outstanding production, songwriting, and musicianship. This one is not to be missed.
Killer riffs from Dean and guitarist Kevin Barry on many numbers. "Ghost Music" is a standout. "Pennies" demonstrates Dean's abundant skills as a musician and as a producer, this could be the start of something big for Mr. Dean,.. and well deserved.

Suzanne Glass -

"The single most impressive thing (among many) is the consistent strength of the
Tom Dean is a New Hampshire singer-songwriter, and though he's a 25+ year veteran of local folk/rock heroes Devonsquare, these days his solo career has been in the spotlight. On his latest CD, Pennies, Dean serves up ten strong, original songs co-written with friend/lyricist George Wardwell.

Wardwell also contributed lyrics to Dean's 1999 release, Your Own Backyard (reviewed right here on, and is in fine form this time around. The lyrics are cleverly crafted stories set to Dean's memorable melodies, most of which fall into the "modern folk" or singer-songwriter genre. There are a couple surprises, however, like Dean's wailing harmonica on the bluesy title track and the surprisingly traditional violin on "That Girl is the Moon".

The single most impressive thing about this album (among many) is the consistent strength of the songwriting. There's not a weak tune in the bunch.

I just love this guy's voice. He's been compared by other reviewers to Phil Collins, Don Henley, and James Taylor. I also heard traces of Paul Simon's genius on "Run Down Slow" and "The Streets of Montreal".

Portsmouth Herald / Spotlight Online

If you like contemporary folk, "Pennies" will sound heavenly.
"Pennies" is the second solo effort of North Conway’s Tom Dean, of the long-running supergroup Devonsquare. "Classy" readily comes to mind to describe a superb 40 minutes of sound. "Splendid" also rattles around in that vast vacuum serving as the music reviewer’s stand-in for gray matter.
First-rate music, pithy lyrics and talented performers all bear up well under repeated aural scrutiny. In truth, most of the song lyrics, eight collaborations with George Wardwell and two lonely star turns from Dean, improve with contemplation.

"Sunset Town" is a requiem for a lost Los Angeles, the bygone serenity of the old City of Angels – Los Angeles before freeways, choking smog, and wall-to-wall hustle. Now it is never dark, never asleep, never safe.

The title cut, "Pennies" is a jaunty reflection on choices made, opportunities lost, and the lure of irretrievable new beginnings. The answers lie within.

Dean and Wardwell milk life’s experiences and the cream rises to the top. Deep thoughts are cleanly rendered and speak to everyman. Even songs about that road more traveled, love, sound original, not hackneyed.

The "Pennies" band usually sports Dean on vocals, acoustic, bass, slide and electric guitars, keyboards, tambourine, harmonica, and/or snare drum, Shawn Pelton on drums, Michael Visceglia on bass guitar, and Kevin Barry on electric guitars. Other contributors include Don Campbell on background vocals and banjo, Tom Yoder on mandolin and violin, Charlie Jennison on soprano sax, and Joyce Andersen on violin and background and additional vocals.

"Pennies" is prima facie evidence why one of New England’s finest singer-songwriters, and a gifted vocalist and multi-instrumentalist to boot, is also in constant demand as a producer. If you like contemporary folk, "Pennies" will sound heavenly.

Marilyn Rae Beyer WUMB Boston, MA

Simply terrific new CD. I love the title song, too. And your tracks with Joyce are very appealing. "Fab!"

Tim Young

a fan since the late 1970's
I have been a fan of Tom Dean's since the late 1970's, through his work with Devonsquare. This is the first of his solo works that I have heard and it's pure joy to listen to him once again. He has always possessed a wonderfully organic, expressive voice. My favorites on "Pennies" include "Run Down Slow" (I cannot get the refrain out of my head), "The Streets of Montreal" and "Ebbets Field." You can't fake the talent that Tom has - thank God he decided to share it with us.


Tom Dean's voice has matured some since "In Your Own Backyard, " but the poignancy in it still catches at the listener's ear and heart. While the lyrics here are not quite as deep hitting for me as on Tom's earlier solo CD, they remain thought provoking and rich in symbolism. There is an overall resonance of maturity evident in these words, the hard-won wisdom of living with adult choices made and the price of lost love, but without a trace of bitterness. Dean and Wardwell's lyrics may be wistful for the innocence of the past, but don't overlook the complexity or the call of the present, like the lights of LA that never dim in "Sunset Town." My personal favorite is the haunting "Escape and On You Go," (the background vocals by Joyce Anderson are incredible, the overall production is gorgeous) about the powerful force of fate in all our lives. Overall, a CD you'll want to listen to more than once to catch the nuances of..Tom Dean's talent deserves more than just local notice.

Dan J. Szczesny - Hippo Press

Pennies has a strength under the surface that gives Dean’s gentle voice urgency,
..Like jazz of the 50s and 60s, the New England folk scene sometimes seems to consist of such a tight-knit group of players that it’s tough to tell whose song it is you’re listening to. On any given new album, particularly in New Hampshire/Maine Tom Dean, Joyce Andersen, Tom Yoder and Don Campbell (to name the most proficient) show up all over each other’s CDs. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, on Dean’s latest release, the excellent Pennies, the presence of such folk royalty is enough to lift the album beyond your standard folk fare.
..Let’s be clear. There is no middle-of-the-road folk. There’s Bob Dylan and then there’s bland. But throughout his career, even without the help of Andersen, etc., Dean has rarely fallen into that trap. Dylan, and Dean, understand that the stories in their songs aren’t about the singer. Sure, in many of the 10 songs on Pennies Dean is a character, but the message is more complex, more universal. Another guy with a guitar singing about a broken heart we don’t need. But in “The Streets of Montreal,” when Dean sings about returning to that city to walk in the shadow of an old, long-gone lover, the song isn’t about self-pity, it’s about a guy who lost it and understands it’s never coming back. “We’re made to think there’s always something else that we can try,” Dean sings behind the sad soprano sax of Charlie Jennison. “The things we do don’t change a thing, and this is the reason why I’m seeking absolution.”
Later, in one of the strongest songs on the album, Dean is joined by Andersen on “Escape and On You Go.” In back-and-forth vocals, they tell the story of a woman beaten by her man and a man nearly escaping death on the highway. Are they the people each of them sings about? The song never tells. But each of them deals with loneliness and the inability to change their life through denial as an escape. Hardly typical singer/songwriter fare.
..Dean and his songwriting partner George Wardwell have created a mature, and occasionally dark little album about aging and the consequences of having regrets. Dean’s voice is light and mellow, as always, but Pennies has a strength under the surface that gives Dean’s gentle voice urgency, and makes the album a stand-out.

Eleln Brodsky

New CD is fun for dancing
I just wanted to say the "Ghost Song" piece is great for dancing West Coast Swing.