Tom Rigney & Flambeau
Redwood Coast Music Festival 2018 Performing Artist
There is no question that Tom Rigney has become one of the premier blues and roots music violinists in the world, and continues to be a prolific composer of powerfully compelling music for the violin, music whose influences come from an extremely wide range of musical styles within the broad boundaries of American Roots Music.
Rigney has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area roots music scene for more than thirty-five years. In 2000, after fifteen years as the leader and electrifying violinist of The Sundogs, fiddler/composer Tom Rigney stepped out on his own with a hot new band, Flambeau. The repertoire is original, eclectic, passionate, and filled with a musical and emotional intensity that will come as no surprise to followers of Rigney’s career.
The son of baseball great, Bill Rigney, Tom is a native of the Bay Area. His musical career began after he finished his graduate studies at Harvard University, where he received a Masters degree in Fine Arts.
Tom first rose to prominence in the music scene as the leader/fiddler of the legendary Bluegrass/Western Swing band, Back in the Saddle. He won a Bammie award in 1981 for the band’s debut recording. He also wrote their hit song, “Time and Again”, which rode the country music charts in the Bay Area for many weeks, no small achievement for an independent release.
After the demise of Back in the Saddle, Tom joined Queen Ida’s Bon Temps Zydeco Band and toured the world with the Queen in 1983 and 1984. It was at this time that he developed a love of South Louisiana dance music (Cajun, zydeco, and New Orleans second line grooves). These styles formed a major ingredient in the sound of his next band, The Sundogs. Teaming with songwriter Joe Paquin and slide guitarist T.J. Politzer, Tom and The Sundogs performed and recorded together for fifteen years.
And now, with the broadening and deepening of his composing skills, and the refinement of his virtuoso technique on the violin, Tom Rigney steps out as the focal point of Flambeau, and as the creator of most the band’s music. The strong Cajun/zydeco influence is still present, as are the irresistible dance grooves that have been his specialty for twenty years. But there is also a deepening of the emotional range of his music and a concentration on creating moving and memorable melodies in a wide range of styles–he has literally become a “singer” on the violin. The music bursts with the energy of the bayou one minute, turns passionate with a gypsy tune the next; it can raise the roof with a Celtic reel and then touch the heart with a beautiful waltz; it can drive deep into the heart of the Blues or evoke echoes of Eastern Europe or the coast of Spain.
Tom Rigney & Flambeau
Tom Rigney - Leader, Violin
Caroline Dahl - Piano
Danny Caron - Guitar
Steve Parks - Bass
Brent Rampone - Drums