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Tom Jans
Press Cuttings

"print the legend" ... James Stewart

 

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Biography
from Columbia Records

Columbia Press and Public Information, Los Angeles
1975

Tom Jans

 (photo to be added)

 

"A little grittier, a little tougher" is the way Tom Jans describes his current album, co-produced by Little Feat mainstay Lowell George. Jans, who began his professional career by collaborating with Mimi Farina, had previously achieved his greatest measure of acclaim by writing “Lovin’ Arms”, a song that was recorded by literally scores of artists in every musical genre. It was the first of several Jans songs to score highly on the charts (most recent was the number one country hit “Out of Hand” recorded by Gary Stewart).

The son of a California rancher, Tom grew up in the vicinity of San Jose in a household that he describes as “always having music around”. My grandmother played the drums and trombone”, he recounts, and the house was always boogie-ing. I remember one time I was angry and I sent my mother’s only Glen Miller record sailing across the back of the house. My mother cried all day and I realised that music was a pretty heavy thing in our family”.

 Jans began writing at a precocious age and listening to a wildly diverse assortment of music. The first record he ever bought was Johhny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans” (on Columbia, by the way) and Tom recalls his admiration for the Olympics, Allen Toussaint, Hank Williams and Spike Jones.

At 20, Jans began to play Bay area coffee houses and it was though one of those informal engagements that he came to meet Joan Baez and Joan’s sister Mimi Farina. Tom’s work with the latter artist resulted in an album and a series of dates that took them across the United States and Europe, opening for Cat Stevens on some dates, playing on their own on others. “They were really good times,“ Jans remembers; “I was pretty young – 21 years old – and I got off on the whole experience.”

 The Farina-Jans collaboration ended as each felt drawn in different directions. Says Tom: “I began writing in earnest at the end of that period; I started to piece together the things that were important to me, the things I understood.” Off on his own, Tom moved to Nashville for a year where he wrote steadily and recorded his first solo album on A&M, produced by Mentor Williams and embellished with the artistry of Lonnie Mack and Troy Seals, among others.

 Now back in Los Angeles and on Columbia, Jan’s music has taken on a slightly harder edge. His development as a writer and artist is best summed up by Jans himself:

 “When you’re younger, you tend to write about yourself in vague terms; as you get older and come to know yourself better, your images become more specific. But that’s a lot of crap too – you write because that’s what you do – you hope it’s the best you can do.”


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photo credit:
tom sheehan London 20th May 1977

This page updated October 2003 by Geoff
GMGough@clara.net