Tom Begich
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Tom Begich

Anchorage, Alaska, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1987 | SELF

Anchorage, Alaska, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1987
Solo Folk Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"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.
On Friday, April 15, Begich will share the stage with various Alaskan artists at the Alaska Music Conference’s Showcase Concert at the Snow Goose Theater.
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.”
TOM BEGICH performs Friday, April 15, as part of the Alaska Music Conference Showcase Concert at the Snow Goose Theater, 717 E. Third Ave. Admission is free. Call 277-7727. Tom Begich’s CD’s are available at Side Street Espresso or online at - AK This Month

"Begich, Holder to perform at Silverbow"

Songwriters Tom Begich and Terry Holder have toured through Alaska and down the West Coast since meeting a few years ago at Side Street Espresso in Anchorage.

Their music differs. Begich favors finger-picked blues_and acoustic introspection. Holder's songs are inspired by Jackson Browne and Patti Griffin. Still, they're often told that their styles complement each other.

Begich and Holder will stop at The Back Room at the Silverbow Inn at 7 p.m. Friday. It's the first trip to Southeast Alaska for Holder, a 20-year Alaska resident. Begich last played here in 2002 and has appeared at the Alaska Folk Festival many times.

Juneau native Patrice Helmar will open. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Begich, son of former U.S. Congressman Nick Begich and older brother of Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, was involved in the Anchorage scene in the early 1980s. He turned to politics for a little more than a decade, until one day he was hanging out with George Gee, owner of Side Street Espresso in Anchorage.

"I played a song for him called 'Mexico,' which I had played at the Juneau folk festival in the mid-1980s," Begich said. "A customer dropped a $5 bill in my guitar case, and that was the beginning."


Tom Begich and Terry Holder

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Where: The Back Room at the Silverbow Inn.

Tickets: $10 at the door.

On the web

For more, visit:


Begich played at Side Street during his lunch breaks and soon rediscovered his joy for songwriting. Now, music represents about a third of his income. His other job is in juvenile justice and community development.

Begich released "Such a World" in 1997, "Hotel Metropol" in 1999, "Albu-querque Road" in 2001 and "Cool Blue Light" in November 2004. The new album was a three-year project that sat on the shelf in 2002, while Begich acted as trustee for a friend's estate. He eventually re-cut the vocals and finished in August 2004.

"'Albuquerque Road' was more of a road album, songs to drive down highways to, and 'Cool Blue Light,' in a universal way, really tries to explore some of the tough decisions that we have to make in life," Begich said. "We all think back at missed opportunities. It's sort of getting into the idea of how we see things, and how we respond to them."

Holder played guitar in her late teens, but didn't write a note until the youngest of her three daughters moved out of the state.

"My mother passed away, and my kids had all left the state, and I was just really in a dark place," Holder said. "I woke up one day and started writing music and called my husband on the phone and said, 'Oh my god, I think I can write music.'"

She decided to record, so she could give the songs to her kids. "am i here, is this me" came out in 2001. "Colored Rooms" was released in May 2004. Her youngest daughter, Erin, sings harmony on both records, and she and her husand co-produced

"I never planned on going out and playing in public, but halfway through recording the first record, my husband told me that maybe I should go do some open mikes," Holder said. "So it's really taken on a life of its own, and it's been great. I've learned a lot, and I just write what I feel."
- The Juneau Empire

"Review of Cool Blue Light"

Cool Blue Light is the fourth CD by Alaska native Tom Begich, and in my opinion, is his best so far. Begich is an authentic troubadour, crisscrossing the country, playing at small venues and house concerts, and obviously gathering on a first hand basis much of the material that makes its way into his songs.
This album contains twelve tracks, eleven of which he wrote, and while he has a great voice, his songwriting is his major strength, and fortunately, unlike me, he knows better than to write “run on” sentences, which generally cause the FolkWorks editors major grief every time I do a review! [Editor’s note: You can see we left this one in!]
Kidding aside, this is a good all round album and very easy to listen to. Begich has managed to surround himself with a dozen highly competent musicians, who successfully round out the sound, and enhance the overall strengths of the album. I especially enjoyed the title track, and also the song called Bakersfield. In fact, now that Buck Owens has passed on to that great Hee-Haw in the sky, the city of Bakersfield, may want to adopt Tom Begich, on the strength of this song. Other good songs include Charleston and To Be With You, as well as the epic Journey’s End, with words by Keith (K.P.) Liles and music by Begich.
Cool Blue Light is a well engineered and packaged product, and should bring Tom a whole lot of new fans. He’s an interesting type of guy, the sort of person that you feel you could get to know over a couple of pints in a quiet bar, which, not surprisingly, is where I first met him. If it’s your good fortune to have him show up in your neck of the woods, he is well worth the effort to go and see. On a scale of one to ten, I’d give Cool Blue Light a nine and a half.
- Folk Works July/August 2006

"Music career heats up with 'Cool Blue Light'"

Daily News correspondent
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.
TOM BEGICH celebrates the release of his fourth CD, "Cool Blue Light," at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Side Street Espresso, 412 G St. Admission is free. Call 258-9055.
FOR MORE on Begich, visit - Anchorage Daily News

"SLO Folks Scores More Great Shows"

Like a novelist weaving a twisted tale of humanity undone, Tom Begich creates music that resonates with conflicts. Hailing from the far north, Begich was part of the Alaska music scene in the early 80's. His easy picking style with blues rythms and storytelling skills combine to create an American tapestry of song. (March 2007) - New TImes (San Luis Obiso, CA)

"Two Radio Shows Celebrating Tom Begich in Dillingham"

Before getting there (link):
Tom Begich has taken a different... path. (Begich): "Maybe musicians in some regard are the front line of politicians because we take perhaps more controversial issues and put them out there... Its all about being in front of peopole and working with people and telling a story...". Its a path that often leads Begich away from Alaska... ... and so he is living the dream and coming to DIllingham to share his musical stories... (Begich): "I tell stories... each of the songs tells a story about something... This is going to be a good night... I'm not only going to play you music, but I am going to tell you stories..."
After the show (link) (Adam Kane):
Tom Begich [came to Dillingham]. He shared stories of his life and the many people he has met on the road... His music was able to inflict strong emotion on many in attendance. (Rolfe Buzzell): "Tom is really fun to play with. He is a great storyteller and he has a lot of depth and breadth to the kinds of stories he tells and the kind of music he plays... and he's a very good finger-picking guitar player -- he's just excellent." (a listener): "Well... if you were not [there] you missed out on the oodaba of the cowabunga of the night's concert. It's like Woodstock when I was there...". (a listener): "Good lyrics, good guitar playing and passionate storytelling." (a listener): "I enjoyed the show immensely". (a listener): "...that was a fabulous show... I enjoyed every moment of of it...".
- KDLG Radio


1997 Such a World (CD)
1999 Hotel Metropol (CD)
2001 Albuquerque Road (CD)
2004 Cool Blue Light (CD)
(2012) Forgotten Streets and Lost Broadways - in production
(2012) Bone Collectors with Tim Mason - in production
(2012) Six Truths, fifty sonnets - in production



The bohemian son of a family steeped in Alaska politics and the product of a life of music, Tom's music and poetry resonates with the stories and 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 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 Kelly Joe Phelps, Anne McCue, Samarabalouf, The Santa Cruz River Band, Tim Mason, Stephen Fearing, Don Morrell, Paul Geremia, Randall Williams, and Kim Richey. Tom also hosted a monthly Songwriter’s Showcase in his hometown of Anchorage for three years and has performed on XM Radio and performed live on numerous radio stations and on the nationally syndicated radio shows “West Coast Live” and "River City Folk". Tom has released four CDs, including “Such a World” in 1997, “Hotel Metropol” in 1999, “Albuquerque Road” in 2001, “Cool Blue Light” in 2004, and "Traveling Through" in 2014. He also published a book of sonnets, "Six Truths" in 2013 and participated in a collaborative project with poet Tim Mason as the "Bone Collectors" with their self-titled CD released also in 2014. Tom continues to play in 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. A wholly original sound and musical styles ranging from acoustic instrumentals to blues and folk rock, Tom Begich will keep you humming for more long after he’s done.

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