Tom Neilson

14th Annual Social Action Song Nominee
10th Annual Sing Out For Social Action Song
Vox Pop Winner
9th Annual Sing Out For Social Action Song Nominee

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Vote Now For This Artist At The 14th Vox Pop

Hear More At The 10th Vox Pop Jukebox

Hear More At The 9th Vox Pop Jukebox

Record Label: Self-Released

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10th Annual:
Home Base: Greenfield, MA, U.S.A.

Genre: Folk

Category Entered: Sing Out for Social Action

Work Submitted: “Solstice Morning”

Artists Featured: Kat Allen, vocalist; Derrik Jordan, fiddle

Label: Roaring Jelly Music


Influences: Woodie Guthrie, John Prine, Emma’s Revolution, Phil Ochs, Victor Borge, Tom Paxton, Martha Neilson, Dave Lippman

Describe your nominated work? This song tells the story of the largest coal ash spill in US history in the predawn of the 2008 winter solstice in Harriman, TN.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 10th IMA’s? People in Tennessee, people working against mountain top removal all told me how moved they were by the song and the importance of the message.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? no

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? as planned

Did fans help you fund this project? no

Who’s sitting in your audience? all ages 12-95, students, activists, people affected by and/or concerned with social, economic, political, and environmental issues about which I write.

What makes your fans unique? My fans want to hear the message in the music.

Are there any songs you wish you wrote? “The Ministry of Oil” by the Prince Myshkins

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? Broadway show tunes and classical music

What is your dream show lineup? Corporations are Human, Allenwood Jail, Four Lane Highways, Tamarack Tree, Solstice Morning, Heroes of the Cold War, Jacob and the Flag, Nike, Only Outlaws will be Free, The Spirit of Justice, Sueno con Serpientes

Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? just the normal preparation

Should music be free? If musicians were publicly supported, then their music should be free. Otherwise, I could not afford to travel and play music.

How has digital affected your career? I’ve had to spend more time on web site maintenance than I care to.

Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? don’t know

Finish this sentence: The music industry is… controlled by large corporate interests, but there are still people and groups concerned with the message that music can carry.