He is one of the great songwriters of the last century and will be reckoned as one of the greats in this new century, as well. He is a man we have come to regard as our friend.
In describing Tom Paxton’s influence on his fellow musicians, Pete Seeger has said: “Tom’s songs have a way of sneaking up on you. You find yourself humming them, whistling them, and singing a verse to a friend. Like the songs of Woody Guthrie, they’re becoming part of America.”
Guy Clark adds: “Thirty years ago Tom Paxton taught a generation of traditional folksingers that it was noble to write your own songs, and, like a good guitar, he just gets better with age.”
Paxton has been an integral part of the songwriting and folk music community since the early 60’s Greenwich Village scene, and continues to be a primary influence on today’s “New Folk” performers. The Chicago native came to New York via Oklahoma, which he considers to be his home state. His family moved there in 1948, when Tom was 10 years old, and he graduated from Bristow High School and The University of Oklahoma, where he majored in drama while his interest in folk music grew and eventually predominated.
Brought to New York courtesy of the US Army, Tom remained there following his discharge. His early success in Greenwich Village coffeehouses, such as The Gaslight and The Bitter End, led to an ever-increasing circle of work. Then in 1965 he made his first tour of the United Kingdom — the beginning of a still-thriving professional relationship that has included at least one tour in each of the succeeding years.
He has performed thousands of concerts around the world in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada. That these fans still enjoy his work is a testament to the quality of his recent work, and to the enduring power of modern standards like The Last Thing On My Mind, Ramblin’ Boy, Bottle Of Wine, Whose Garden Was This?, Goin’ To The Zoo and The Marvelous Toy. Paxton’s songbooks, critically acclaimed children’s books (available from HarperCollins – see the page for children), award-winning children’s recordings, and a catalog of hundreds of songs (recorded by artists running the gamut from Willie Nelson to Placido Domingo), all serve to document Tom Paxton’s 40-year career.
Tom received a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy during the 51st Annual GRAMMY® Awards. He was nominated for a GRAMMY for Comedians and Angels in 2007, and Live in the U.K. in 2006. He was also nominated for GRAMMYS in 2003 for his Appleseed Records CD, Looking For The Moon, and in 2002 for his children’s CD, Your Shoes, My Shoes. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ASCAP, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC in London.
Tom Paxton’s place in folk music is secured not just by hit records and awards, but by the admiration of three generations of fellow musicians. An internationally recognized and loved cultural figure, he has always chosen goodwill over commercial success. His generosity has taken the shape of a benefit concert performance for a little girl fighting leukemia, or a personal note of encouragement to an up-and-coming songwriter. This is the man who wrote and lives the words, “Peace will come, and let it begin with me.”
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer
TWO-TIME GRAMMY® Award Winners, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are master musicians with a career spanning over 35 years. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the guitar, five-string banjo, ukulele, mandolin, cello-banjo, and many other instruments. An eclectic folk festival on their own terms, their repertoire ranges from classic country to western swing, gypsy jazz to bluegrass, and old-time string band to contemporary folk including some original gems. Their versatility defies a brief description. Perhaps “well rounded Americana” does it best.
In February 2017, the duo released their 45th recording, “GET UP AND DO RIGHT”. The album features duets of some of their favorite songs by songwriters such as Alice Gerrard, Tom Paxton, Ola Belle Reed and David Francey, with an original tune and song for good measure. The last piece, “Song of Joy” is by their good friend Ken Whitely and includes percussion and a vocal ensemble the duo created with their own voices.
Cathy & Marcy have performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals and taught at close to 100 music camps. The Washington Area Music Association has recognized the duo with over 60 WAMMIE Awards for folk, bluegrass and children’s music. They have performed with Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Tom Paxton, Patsy Montana, Riders in the Sky and a wide range of musical luminaries.
Cathy & Marcy have earned two GRAMMY® Awards for their recordings “cELLAbration: a Tribute to Ella Jenkins” and for “Bon Appétit!”. Their CDs “Postcards” and “Banjo Talkin’” were both GRAMMY® nominated in the Best Traditional Folk Album category. They have also produced recordings by Tom Paxton, Si Kahn, Ysaye Barnwell, Sam Gleaves, M.S.G. Blues Trio, Patsy Montana, Bonnie Rideout, Bill Harley, Pat Humphries and many other artists.