On a very cold Friday night in September, an upcoming young folk singer took the stage at . A small and intimate group of people braved the chilly winds coming off the water, and they were treated to a fantastic evening of originals and cover songs from Tom Burgess.
Burgess is a Narragansett resident and a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island. He now attends graduate school in New Hampshire, works full time and manages a solo and band career. A real go-getter, his songs are heartfelt and upbeat. One of his songs, “Clam Cakes and Chowda," specifically mentions George’s of Galilee.
“Clam Cakes and Chowda” was a runner up in a music competition on The Rhode Show. Even if he didn’t win, it did open a lot of doors for Burgess. He plays monthly in Boston and Connecticut, and also fronts Uncle Funk.
Uncle Funk, not to be confused with the UK disco band, or the funk/hip hop band out of New Jersey, is a three-piece band from Rhode Island. They have been together for a year, and had their first show on April Fools Day. Burgess and Uncle Funk are no laughing matter though, because Burgess has only been playing live for two years.
Burgess’s vocals are a cross between James Taylor and Eric Clapton. His lyrics will remind someone of Matthew Sweet, and his music puts one in a very relaxing state.
He counts among his influences The Band, the Allman Brothers and Jim Croce. These influences come across in his music.
Burgess’s performance was a relaxing experience. Not only did he play original songs such as “Fall Time in a Cabin,” he also played his versions of songs from The Beatles and Otis Redding.
Besides his own music, one of the highlights of the evening was a Pearl Jam cover. Not many people can get away with covering Pearl Jam, but Burgess not only covered it, he turned “Better Man” into a beautiful folk song.
If you want to kick back and relax, go see Burgess. His music has an effect that will put in you a very comfortable state that will wash away a hard day. Burgess is promising folk singer solo, and this writer looks forward to see how he performs with his band.
Burgess performs locally, so check your local listings. Uncle Funk will be playing at the third annual Harvest and Johnny Cake Festival at Kenyon’s Grist Mill on Oct. 23.