first encountered filk when Dave Clement took him to MiniCon in Minneapolis, where he met many filkers. Tom joined Dave’s band, Prairie Wind, as bass player. The band later evolved into Dandelion Wine, which produced three excellent recordings. In addition to this long-standing and award-winning partnership, Tom also performs with his wife, Sue, as Stone Dragons.
Tom’s instrumental skills reach far beyond the bass, to 6 and 12 string guitar, mandolin, banjo, cittern, dulcimer and almost anything else with strings. He also plays harmonica, whistle, bodhran, and button accordion, and he plays them all well. Although he is most known for playing well with others, he is also a good solo performer. His fine tenor voice has developed over the years, showing his skill in singing lead and blending delightfully when harmonizing with others.
In filk circles and concerts, you’ll find Tom playing backup. He chooses just the right instrumental style to support songs, and does it quietly, making a valuable addition for both listeners and performers.
He makes us all sound better than we really are. In addition, Tom has played backup on albums by many filkers, with more to come.
He has written many wonderful songs. “Circles in the Grain” emerged a mere week after his introduction to filk. Also well known and loved are “Lady of the Sea”, “Gone Filkin'”, “Dandelion Wine” and many others. He has given workshops at filk conventions around the world on topics such as performance, jamming and song writing.
When Tom was co-host and producer of “Prairie Ceilidh”, a weekly live Celtic radio show in Winnipeg , he featured live filk performances and filk recordings on his program. Tom promotes filk in venues unfamiliar with the term, such as concerts outside the normal filk arena, and filking at non-filk conventions.
Tom has served on the FilKONtario concom for two years and worked on sound for nearly five. He has become a critical part of the sound team both for FilKONtario and other events. He has the experience and the solid judgement to create excellent room sound, and debug or prevent problems. His willingness to provide and haul gear, handle set up and sound checks, and run sound at concerts and conventions have helped many performers and audiences enjoy the music we make and love.
Tom has become a fundraising power house. He created several one of a kind DVD’s that have sold for enormous sums, to the benefit of FilKONtario and were critical to the its financial stability. Again his quiet behind-the-scenes efforts made a significant impact on our community.
For over twenty-five years Tom has been involved with filk. He believes in, promotes and exemplifies the worth and values of his chosen family.
He encourages performers and listeners, helps to spread the word about filk and gives of himself to strengthen our community. Through hosting house filks, billeting filkers, and offering friendship and acceptance to all, Tom exemplifies what we mean by a true “filk gardener”. Our filk family is the richer in so many ways thanks to Tom’s participation in it.
For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Tom Jeffers is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this twenty-first day of April, Two thousand and twelve.
Photo Credit: Debbie Ohi