“This business of music is populated with characters of every variety that humanity has to offer. The rule seems to be ‘the more topsy-turvy the character, the more interesting and valid the artist.’ In the bohemian cast of troubadours popularly known as Texas Music (Yes, the Lone Star State has its own brand…you’ve never heard of “Connecticut Music“, have you?) there exists the usual and varying degrees of talent and relevance. Tom McElvain, when we’re speaking of the current wave of the North Texas region, represents the higher order of that rank-and-file.”
-Jeff Hobson, Outlaw Magazine
Tom McElvain, born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, grew up listening to country, blues and honky tonk. Born of Irish decent, Tom’s musical influences can be traced back to his Grandma Lucille and Uncle Keith McElvain…but we suspect the seed was planted by much earlier generations.
Tom’s mother, Brenda, fought a lifelong battle with addiction, leaving Tom’s father to raise him and his sister. Looking back, Tom’s father had done a fine job raising the kids, and was by all accounts a dedicated father, but young Tom saw it differently. He ended up striking out on his own his senior year of high school.
Houston, TX, is where he landed, and with that freedom came the responsibility to make (and live by) his own decisions. Most were good- getting a job and working hard- while others brought the threat of good times mixed with bad influences. Tom had fallen in love with the Texas Honky Tonk scene.
In 2000, he dove head-first into the music life, embracing the freedom of the road. Finally, he had the time and space to write the songs and stories he was meant to tell, and was fortunate enough to have the great Ray Wylie Hubbard take him under his wing early in his career.
The truth is, people like Tom are born to write and perform music- feeling like half a person until they’re on stage- and eventually, Tom couldn’t ignore this fact. His soulful sound, influenced early on by unlikely artists like Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin, resonated with patrons and Tom started finding success behind the mic.
He also found drugs and alcohol, though, and things began to spiral out-of-control. Eventually, the fist fights and no-shows took a toll on his reputation as a viable local performer. In late 2001, the realization hit Tom that is was time for a change.
Tom disappeared back to Muenster, TX, for several years while he shook off the demons of addiction and mended his relationship with his Dad.
Clear-headed and ready to get back out there, Tom began reaching out to old acquaintances, testing bridges he feared were burned for good, and he eventually found a home at The White Elephant in the Ft. Worth Stockyards.
There, he met another eventual country powerhouse by the name of Cody Jinks who “tended bar at night, treatin’ saints and sinners right.”
With addiction in the rearview mirror and a newfound drive to get his music out there, Tom began sculpting himself into the singer-songwriter we all knew he had the potential to become.
Add the love and stability of his wife, Christi, whom he met back in 2006, Tom was set to put his best foot forward. The two wed in the spring of 2011.
Fast-forward to today.
Tom has written and performed with the likes of Cody Jinks, Robbie White, Blacktop Gypsy, Ronnie Spears, and many others.
His 2012 singles, “Whiskey Angel” and “Favorite Beer” performed well on the Texas charts, but “Rock-n-Roll” was what really put Tom’s name on the map as a respected songwriter. Released on Cody Jinks’ 2015 album Adobe Sessions, “Rock-n-Roll” became a staple of Cody’s set list, where it has remained to this day. Tom also co-wrote “Grey” on Cody’s 2016 release, I’m Not The Devil, which was also met with wide critical acclaim.
Ask anyone in his inner circle and they’ll all tell you the same thing: It’s Tom’s time to shine.
December 2017 found Tom, (his new touring partner and producer) Joe Austin, as well as some old friends and bandmates in Tornillo, TX, at the famed Sonic Ranch Studios to lay down the tracks for Tom’s upcoming release, Redemption (June 2018).
Joe Austin described Redemption as “a journey spanning the last 20 years of Tom’s life. A sequence of songs that takes you on a ride from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, reverberating the common theme that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if you want it bad enough and you’re willing to sacrifice and put in the work to get there.” Joe goes on to say, “The last half of that record wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for (Tom’s wife) Christi, because Tom wouldn’t be here. He’d be dead if it weren’t for her.”
The album is going to be heavy in all the right ways. That’s the powerful tone you can expect to hear when Redemption is released.
As Tom prepares for Redemption’s release, he and Joe have loaded up the calendar, and will be packing in venues all over the U.S.
You can check out their upcoming schedule on the Tour Dates tab.