After gathering broad critical and public acclaim on his first two albums, Tom took time out to rediscover his passion for the guitar and love of song-writing on a journey that took him from the wilds of Devon, through the foothills of India and the mountains of Southern Spain, and ended in California, where he began the making of his long awaited third album: The Uncarved Block - Part One. In March 2013 Tom returned to touring in the UK and Ireland. He debuted a unique collection of songs, showcasing his masterful guitar-playing and the raw, confessionary depth of his lyrics and voice.
The craft of song-writing has been Tom's life. His early years were spent in Cornwall. After lots of temporary homes, the family eventually bought a hotel in Suffolk where he spent the rest of his teenage years. “My parents worked really hard at doing it all up and innovating a really creative place. It was a hotel, but out the back we had an old-fashioned ballroom and a nightclub beneath it called 'Charlie’s Bar.’ That became a really popular place to hang out.” His brother Jo learned the drums, Tom learned the guitar and by the time they were in their early teens, they’d put a band together.
When he was 19, Tom moved to London to go to music college, which turned out to be more about scuzzy outskirts than buzzy metropolis. While his mates began to get jobs, cars and lives, he was gigging hard and banging away at locked industry doors. But it was the start of the process of developing from mere musician into fully-rounded songwriter. “I did lots of different things to pay the rent, and as hard as it was, I avoided getting a proper job because I knew I might just get stuck in it.”
He was playing covers in the front bar at the Bedford in Balham, south London, when the musical tide turned back in favour of singer-songwriters, and a groundswell began that’s been bubbling up ever since. Tom's debut, ‘Feather and Stone’ (2004), built via word of mouth and his irresistible live shows. His second album, 'Skybound' (2008), was a collection of ten extraordinarily powerful compositions, including the unforgettable 'Better', which appeared on the soundtrack of 'Run, Fat Boy, Run', and the emotive 'Almost There' covered by Dame Shirley Bassey on her album 'The Performance'.
Tom truly exemplifies the phrase “creative ownership” as he funded the recording of Skybound creating ten canvases, each a visual interpretation of a track on the album. “It was a way of being able to get the record to a bigger audience,” he explains. “I did it because I really wanted to do the artwork, it funded the music, and because it all interlinked.” The pieces were sold to eager admirers, before being displayed at the Richard Dennis Gallery in London. It’s an unusual multi-media template that Baxter intends to use again. To tie in with The Uncarved Block - Part Two, he’s working on a new art project. “It’s how I intend to continue in terms of music, because it keeps me fresh. One thing feeds off the other.”
Witness him live, and you’re part of that rare experience of an audience totally captivated by what they’re watching. If a pin drops, you’ll hear it. “I try to go into a zen-like state when I’m performing, because it’s important for me to realise that everybody has the potential to be affected by music. As an artist, that’s my aim. I just want to write more cracking tunes.
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