Products used: Acetal Teardrop guitar picks.
“Someone gave me a Clayton guitar pick about ten years ago and haven’t used another type or brand since. It is an integral link in the chain between myself and the guitar.”
Beginning as a teenager in the talent-rich Western New York music scene, Tommy Z is a guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer/engineer/composer who has been described as a “blues treasure” by legendary 97 Rock/WBFO DJ Jim Santella (WBFO), and “one of WNY’s best kept secrets” by Sarah French, Blues Matters Magazine. Though he is a guitar-driven electric blues-based stylist onstage, in the studio Tommy composes a variety of music. So while well experienced and studied in traditional blues, jazz and rock styles, Tommy is an artist who puts that soulful blues feeling into all the different styles he plays. As a result he’s been been recognized with numerous awards over the years, including being voted Top Blues Vocalist in Western New York 2003/2004/2006, Top Blues Guitarist 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006 and his groups have won the Top Blues/Crossover Blues Band categories 1994, 2005, 2006, and was honored with the Muddy Waters Award for “Artist of the Year” by the Blues Society of WNY in 2004. In 2007 Tommy was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, recognizing him alongside some of the best talent to ever come out of WNY (and also making him ineligible for any more music awards!). He has had the opportunity to perform with/or co-bill with some of the worlds’ greatest artists in the blues/rock genre including: B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jeff Healey, Colin James, Roomful of Blues, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Peter Frampton, Carey Bell and many more including a tour backing up Grammy-winning blues legend Pinetop Perkins (Muddy Waters Band).
The son of a Vietnam-era veteran, he has been bringing a taste of home to US troops overseas since 2003 with blues-based concert tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Japan, South Korea, Djibouti, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Turkey, Guam, Alaska and other distant locales on behalf of USO/AFE. Rolling Stone Magazine called some of these locations, “The most dangerous gigs on Earth.” Tommy contributed guitar tracks to Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan’s CD on Immergent called Gillan’s Inn, on the track “When A Blind Man Cries,” which also featured blues-rock legend Jeff Healey and Jon Lord. In 2006 a critically acclaimed CD entitled Universal Love was produced with Nick Blagona (BeeGees, Chicago, Police), and it was described as “soul-rockin’ blues” by Bob Putignano, NYC Blues Society President and Sounds of Blue DJ (WFDU), “awesome” by Bob Silvestri, Best of WNY, and “should feature high on your list of ‘new’ acts to investigate” Mick Rainsford, Blues in Britain Magazine.
He really got some attention in the blues and blues/rock world with the release of “Sometimes” in 2013. It made both the Roots Report Top Blues FM and Internet Airplay Charts, charts for US blues/roots stations, overseas blues charts and made the first round of voting for Best Blues Album at the Grammy’s. It continues to receive glowing reviews in such publications as American Blues Scene, Blues Rock Review, About.com/blues and many many more.
In addition to his performance schedule, Tommy is a Canisius College graduate, guitar teacher, and composer/producer for Film, TV, Sports, etc. His most recent credits include writing the victory song for the St. Louis Blues (NHL), Red Hot Chili Peppers Biography, Ryan and Sean’s Not So Excellent Adventure, Last Comic Standing (NBC), TLC’s Stager Invasion, Animal Planet’s Swamp Wars (main title), Bravo’s Chef Roble and Co. and others.