O N S T A G E
Tom has played harmonica onstage with Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, Earl Hooker, Kenny Loggins, Christopher Cross, George Thorogood, Phillip Walker, Newgrass Revival, Pee Wee Crayton, Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur, Louisiana Red, David Lindley, Brownie McGhee, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Jerry Douglas, Jimmy Witherspoon, Charlie Musselwhite, Jim Messina, Red Holloway, Tim O'Brien, Long Gone Miles, Sam Bush, Jeff Bridges, Ramblin' Jack Elliot and many more.
H A R P R E C O R D I N G S
Tom's first recordings as a harp player took place in '67, when the Yerba Buena did several sessions for L.A. jazz label Good Time Jazz. "None of the stuff was ever issued, thank God. We were pretty good on our instruments and our hearts were in the right place, but my 16-year-old whitebread voice was pretty lame..."
Ball spent most of the '70s wandering around the world but by 1978 he was road-weary and settled in Santa Barbara, where he soon made the acquaintance of guitarist Kenny Sultan (see Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan website.) The duo has eight CDs out -- all of which feature Tom's harp work prominently. In addition he has played on about 250 other CDs, in styles as seemingly dissimilar as blues, folk, country, pop, R&R and bluegrass (see discography.)
Tom's harp of choice is the stock US-model Hohner 560/20 Special 20, "right out of the box." He also has several chromatic harps in his arsenal, as well as a polyphonia and a pre-war Hohner 265/58 octave double bass harp. "The bass harp is fabulous," he says. "I got it from Dick Gardner of the Harmonicats, who rebuilt and reconditioned it. It weighs four pounds and is roughly the size of a loaf of bread. Now I just need to learn how to play the beast."
Tom's latest venture on harp is the multi-tracked opus NAGASAKI SAILS FROM URANUS.