Tom Buenger Music

Tom Buenger Music

Mount Vernon, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2021 | SELF

Mount Vernon, Washington, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2021
Solo Rock Blues




"Tom Buenger – Suburban Gospel | Album Review"

This is West Coast solo musician Tom Buenger’s debut album. Tom Buenger plays acoustic guitar, bass, harmonica, and handles the lead vocals. He is accompanied by Teresa Russell and Rafael Tranquilino on electric guitar, they do a fine job in support and on backing vocals. Buenger sings in a natural and head voice to interesting effect. He uses the vocal switchovers to accentuate the mood in these all-original songs that he wrote. The album is different and grows and grow on the listener as you move through the cuts. The songs are timely and interesting and he and the two accompanying musicians work well together.

“Trouble Be Gone” is a solo cut with acoustic guitar and whistling that later adds harp, hand claps and backing vocals. It’s got a nice groove and it’s well done. Next is “A Bad Dream” with haunting slide and backing vocals on top of Buenger’s performance about this bad dream (which is life today). There is some stuff here that is different and quite compelling. “Rise Above” begins with a down ho me feel. It transitions to call and response and nice harp that builds and then finishes cleanly. “Breakdown” follows, a cut with gutsy vocals and backup and a simple acoustic guitar. The mood is dark and the overall feel is tribal. The electric guitar comes in after some hand clapping to good effect as the song builds and builds in swirls of confusion and emulation of a breakdown; the abrupt ending is also slick. “Butter My Bread” begins with harp and howling vocals and then the slide comes in as Buenger continues to moan and howl with gusto.

“Deliver” opens the second half of the songs. It also begins simply and then some very emotive slide and backing vocals add to the mood. It’s a dark and somber feeling cut about unrequited love. “Girl On Fire” is a love song that begins simply and builds a bit. Acoustic guitar and maraca start with Buenger’s lead and then again the electric guitar and backing vocals add to the mix to beef up support. “Change” follows and the song describes the inevitability of change. The songs begins with the vocal support upfront; the vocals are really cool and the harp is well done here, too, as Buenger sings with passion. “Here With You” is a slick cut as Buenger describes how happy he is with his woman; he wants to marry her and go off and do great things together. He sets a nice groove on his acoustic guitar and layers in some tasteful harp beginning mid cut. It’s a bit funky and well done overall. The final track starts as a quiet and somber tune with guitar and harp as Buenger sings with this ballad with nice pacing and emotion. It almost feels like a down homey/cowboy sing but it’s not, it’s just a simple and effective acoustic ballad.

As I said, the album grows on you. At first I started to wonder why he uses his head voice so much, but then the effect he’s trying to have on the listener becomes evident. He’s a very decent singer and he and the backing singers do a great job with call and response, harmonizing, and just doing some fine work together. I enjoyed the CD and I think it’s well worth consideration for addition to your collection; you won’t be disappointed. It’s also a really well done debut album for this great young artist. - Blues Blast Magazine

"Ventura Rocks Q&A with Tom Buenger"

More venues are offering more live music as we transition gently back towards normalcy. I’m grateful to see strict Covid guidelines in place at the venues I’ve frequented the past couple of weeks. I’m hearing Winchesters will be offering live music on Thursdays (along with Fridays and Saturdays), the Raven Tavern in Oxnard now has live music on the weekends, Pierano’s has been ramping up their live music roster, and more and more artists are reaching out to me sharing their live music schedules which can be found at You can find the week’s listing on the Ventura Weekly Music Calendar link and the current day’s line up on the homepage.

In this issue of the Breeze, I have a Q&A with local artist Tom Buenger, He first landed on my radar performing as Tom & Milo around town a few years ago. Tom has been working on original music which always warms my heart. He has his debut release Suburban Gospel this month so I thought I’d reach out and get the community acquainted with Tom Buenger.

Pam: How long have you been playing live music in the 805?

Tom Buenger: I grew up in the 805 and have always been around music one way or another. But after I left the military and settled into Ventura County in 2014, I quickly met Milo Sledge. Milo and I played a few times a week at venues between Goleta, Oxnard, Ventura, and Camarillo. One New Year’s, (2017 I think), I picked up a gig, and Milo was unavailable. I asked Teresa Russell if she would play the gig with me, and we instantly hit it off. She and I then played at least weekly until 2020 or so.

Give me the background on your musical journey.

Tom: I grew up singing. My mom has the most beautiful voice, and I was raised with her constantly singing to me. Singing, melody…just a sort of melodic communication…is even more engrained into my brain than the English language. I did not pick up an instrument until I turned 21. While in the Air Force I went to this Blues Club (Blues Central) for my 21st, while I was stationed in Alaska. There was a man playing wonderful boogie woogie blues on the piano, and I eventually asked if he would teach me a thing or two. He taught me the Nashville system, and it was downhill from there. I obsessed over piano, locking myself in my apartment on my days off until I had the basic skill (and courage) to play at a local blues jam. I got up, played my one song, it was absolutely terrible, but I loved it. I was obsessive about it and practiced not to memorize, but to understand the language of it all.

Eventually I fell in love with the Hammond organ sound; I saved and bought a Hammond B3, and played in a classic rock band while I was at the Air Force Academy where I learned how to be a good band-member and musician. After a while, I got tired of lugging a 350-lb organ everywhere, and looked for the smallest instrument I could find…the harmonica. Similarly, to piano, I obsessed, keeping a few in my car, playing and practicing harmonica for hours while in traffic and on road trips.

Then a couple years ago, I turned my time and attention to the guitar, which has been the hardest instrument for me, by far. However, it’s opened up a whole new level of understanding and satisfaction, and it really opened the door to allowing me to (1) play extended solo gigs, and (2) write my own music.

What music most influenced you growing up?

All the great music my mom and dad listened to. We would go on camping trips, and the playlist had everything from Elton John to Earth Wind and Fire, to Clapton, and so on. In high school, I discovered jazz, which led me to the blues, which brought me to gospel (sort of backwards!). And I fell in love with the gospel sound. All that said, I spent many hours listening to Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, and funny enough, Bradley Nowell from Sublime. I tried hard to emulate their voices as a kid before finding my own.

How is it you landed back in the 805?

Tom: After leaving the military, I wanted to come back to where I grew up, which is Oxnard and Ventura. It’s a pretty magical place.

Where are a few of your favorite places to play?

Tom: I cut my teeth locally, at The Waterside Restaurant in the Channel Islands Harbor. However, some venues that have been particularly good to me (while playing with Milo and Teresa) are The Red Piano in Santa Barbara, Captain Fatty’s in Goleta, and Madwest now and again. These days, I split my time playing between Oxnard/Ventura with Milo or Teresa, and solo gigs around Seattle.

When did you first start writing original tunes?

Tom: I started writing original tunes about a year ago. Until that time, I felt like I had always had some mental block, keeping me from writing original music. With COVID slowing the world down, coming through a tough personal time in life, and then finding new love, I learned that writing (for me) is all about head-space….open space, mentally, to allow my brain and body to communicate feelings I hadn’t quite understood before.

Suburban Gospel is your first release as a solo artist?

Tom: Suburban Gospel is my first release. I’m not typically one who is good at self-promotion or shouting about my successes, but I will say that I’d put the music on Suburban Gospel up against anyone’s; it’s a great album for which I’m incredibly proud. I also have another 15 songs just about complete for album number two.

What does the title suggest?

Tom: I grew up in the church, and I love the gospel sound. I’m also a middle-class white guy who loves the blues, soul…all of it. I thought Suburban Gospel sort of fit what I was going for. For some songs, I get a bit up onto my soapbox (or pulpit), while others are more songs of hope, and then others are love songs. I’m not sure what genre this album is…It’s certainly blues and gospel influenced, but I truly believe I’ve created something uniquely me. It breaks the mold of a “blues” album in too many ways to be considered blues.

What kind of plans do you have in motion to help get the word out?

Tom: I will probably hire some marketing or push toward a label. As of now, I’m hopeful the music will speak for itself, once it comes available May 14.

Where can people find out more?

Tom: Follow me on Instagram @tombuengermusic, or on my website

Closing words?

Tom: Suburban Gospel is available everywhere, beginning May 14. I have a bunch of collaborations in work, and I’m excited to share more music with the world! - Ventura Rocks



  1. Trouble Be Gone
  2. A Bad Dream
  3. Rise Above
  4. Break Down
  5. Butter My Breqad
  6. Deliver
  7. Girl on Fire
  8. Change
  9. Here With You
  10. Home



After more than a decade in the US Military and another 5 years navigating corporate America, Tom Buenger emerges, bringing with him a renewed focus on vocal performance, musicianship, and simplicity back to Blues, Gospel, Roots, and American music.

From dark Texas bars, Southern music halls, California wine bars, and Seattle-area singer-songwriter venues, Tom Buenger draws inspiration from the likes of Ray Charles, Earth Wind & Fire, Howlin' Wolf, Eric Bibb, Amos Lee, and more. Tom Buenger holds on tightly to the Blues, while paying homage to America's Gospel roots.

Tom Buenger's debut album SUBURBAN GOSPEL breaks every blues mold, showcasing Tom Buenger on acoustic guitar, bass, harmonica, and vocals, accompanied by award-winning electric guitarists Teresa Russell & Rafael Tranquilino who deliver spectacularly.

Band Members