Tom Dundee

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Tom Dundee (1946–2006) was a singer/songwriter born in Chicago, Illinois, United States. [1]

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago) is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of more than 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


He began his career in Corrales, New Mexico in 1969. A year later he became a principal member of the Chicago folk scene that spawned such performers as John Prine, Steve Goodman, Mick Scott, and Bonnie Koloc. In the 1980s, Dundee performed throughout the Seattle Music Scene and in the 1990s recorded out of Nashville, Tennessee.

Corrales, New Mexico Village in New Mexico, United States

Corrales is a village in Sandoval County, New Mexico, United States which is located on the site of a pre-Spanish conquest era Tiguex pueblo complex and which was originally founded and settled by Spanish Colonists in the late 1500's CE. The population was 8,329 at the 2010 Census. With proximity to the Rio Grande, the village was founded for agricultural purposes. The Rio Grande Bosque on the eastern edge of the village provides refuge for native animals and plants. The village fights hard to maintain its rural character in light of being surrounded by the rapidly expanding cities of Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.

Folk music Music of the people

Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.

John Prine American country singer/songwriter

John Prine is an American country folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a composer, recording artist, and live performer since the early 1970s, and is known for an often humorous style of country music that has elements of protest and social commentary.

Dundee is best known for his song "A Delicate Balance." He composed over 300 songs, and recorded with such notables as Timothy B. Schmidt, Stephanie Davis, Rita Coolidge and Paul Barrere. Tom was a close friend and protégé of Steve Goodman, who gave him the guitar on which Steve had composed "The City of New Orleans." According to the Chicago Sun-Times obituary of April 20, 2006, "At the time of his death, Mr. Dundee was a linchpin of the 1970s Chicago folk boom that produced John Prine, Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc and Jim Post, who covered 'A Delicate Balance.'"

Rita Coolidge American singer

Rita Coolidge is an American recording artist. During the 1970s and 1980s, her songs were on Billboard magazine's pop, country, adult contemporary, and jazz charts, and she won two Grammy Awards with fellow musician and then-husband Kris Kristofferson. Her most famous recordings include "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher", "We're All Alone", and the theme song for the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy: "All Time High".

Paul Barrere American musician

Paul Barrere is an American musician most prominent as a member of the band Little Feat, which he joined in 1972 some three years after the band was created by Lowell George.

<i>Chicago Sun-Times</i> newspaper

The Chicago Sun-Times is a daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group, with the 2nd biggest circulation in Chicago.

In concert, Dundee delighted in taking chances with his audience, letting the spontaneity of the moment shape the personality of his show every time out. He joked with his audience, drew them out of themselves with his music, and wove stories in and out of his songs. As a result, his shows, which typically included some of the oldest chestnuts imaginable as well as Dundee's own compositions, almost always felt fresh.

He died in the Chicago, Illinois neighborhood of Rogers Park on April 18, 2006, of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

Rogers Park, Chicago Community area in Illinois, United States

Rogers Park is one of the 77 Chicago community areas on the far north side of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois and is also the name of the Chicago neighborhood that constitutes most of the community area. Rogers Park is located nine miles north of the Cook County Courthouse in downtown Chicago. It is bounded by the city of Evanston along Juneway Terrace and Howard Street to the north, Ridge Boulevard to the west, Devon Avenue and the Edgewater neighborhood to the south, and Lake Michigan to the east. The neighborhood just to the west, West Ridge, was part of Rogers Park until the 1890s and is still commonly referred to as West Rogers Park.

Tom Dundee Tom Dundee.jpg
Tom Dundee



CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Obituary by Nancy Emrich Wednesday, April 19, 2006 Tom Dundee, 59 – Chicago's Own Troubadour of the Heart

Deep within there is a feeling That love and understanding's the door, And honesty is the key that was given to you and me To open it and so many more. -- Tom Dundee, "A Delicate Balance"

Tom Dundee would be the first to tell you he wasn't a folk singer. (Though that will surprise his worldwide folk audiences.)

He was a singer songwriter.

Better yet he was Chicago's truth teller. Never stridently, rarely loudly. He whispered the news of our lives that really mattered. It was musical poetry mixed with candor, astute humor, understating – always - his immense musical skill.

You won't find a website for Tom Dundee. Maybe another line from his best known song "A Delicate Balance" covers the way Tom saw the world. "To worry does nothing but steals from the loving and robs from the pleasure that's there."

And so he didn't worry his career along. He let it unfold. A staple of the Chicago music scene since the 1960s, his four decades performing built sustainable loyalty in his audiences. A private party gig in Montana grew into a nine-year annual event.

A house concert in Wilmette became an annual festival. A single word placed carefully about the quality of a young singer sparked a band and a CD. A troupe of Chicagoans followed him at every local gig. The songs bore repetition well and his intelligence and curiosity fed his patter between songs. His songs spoke of friendship and he lived it.

A lifelong friend of Earl Pionke, "The Earl of Old Town," Dundee was part of the core of singer songwriters who created the Old Town scene in Chicago in the 1970s: Steve Goodman, John Prine, Fred Holstein, Michael Smith. The famous clubs of the time Holstein's, Wise Fools and Somebody's Else's Troubles formed the backdrop for the music and humor and the life of the Chicago music community.

Tom Dundee knew how to connect the dots. Someone here, someone there, a dash of Dundee and things began to happen. His caring for his audiences enfolded them early in the evening and then, carried by his guitar, songs, stories and humor, the audience would leave wanting more.

His gossamer songwriting touch and master musicianship built him a career touring nationally, and in Europe. He lived and worked variously in New Mexico, California, Nevada, Washington State. His twang and country music lilt developed while he was in Nashville where he eventually recorded his self-named CD and Lyfe Tyme Arhyme both produced by Mark Elliott for Flyte Records.

But he was Chicago born and bred, returning here after every loop of adventure and performances. In recent years Tom was a touring member of the Weavers tribute group "Weavermania." Where he worked with Michael Smith, Barbara Barrow, Mark Dvorak, Chris Walz and others.

When he was off stage, Dundee's quiet attention to detail often placed him in the seat behind the sound board helping friends sound better or sometimes he would use his carpentering skills to build a speaker rack in a venue or a client's deck. He'd turn up unexpectedly to ask a question and stay to solve a problem that interested him. All the while his records quietly sold, his songs inspired public sculpture, his tunes played on elevators across the world.

Dundee's most recent project was the show called "Somebody Else's Troubles," a showcase of the established musicians from Jim Craig, Kat Eggleston, Corky Seigel and James Lee Stanley blended with newer talent that he thought deserved attention like Donna Adler and Gabrielle Schafer. This show was presented in various venues like the Folk Series at Bill's Blues in Evanston and Lilly's on Lincoln over the past three years.

But it all stopped last weekend after a motorcycle accident early Saturday morning and Dundee's death April 18 from resulting complications. A musical memorial tribute evening is planned on a date to be announced. He is survived by his partner Rhonda Perkins and several cousins.

Copyright Chicago Tribune

photo by friend Tony Beazley

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  1. "Tom Dundee: 1946-2006 Mainstay of Chicago folk scene in '70s. (25-APR-06)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-02-27.[ dead link ]