Tommy Z

Last updated
Tommy Z
Born Hamburg, New York, United States [1]
Genres Electric blues [2]
Occupation(s) Guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer, audio engineer, guitar teacher, radio DJ
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, bass, percussion
Years active1990spresent
Website Official website

Tommy Z is an American electric blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer and audio engineer, who has released three albums to date. [3] He has been described as a "blues treasure" by Jim Santella (WBFO), and as "one of WNY's best kept secrets" by Sarah French of Blues Matters! magazine. [4] In 2007, he was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. [3]


His 2016 album, Blizzard of Blues, debuted at number 8 in the Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart. [5]

Life and career

Born in Hamburg, New York, United States, [1] the son of a Vietnam-era veteran, [4] he has been honored with a number of awards including the Top Blues Vocalist in Western New York (2003, 2004 and 2006), and Top Blues Guitarist (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2004, 2005, and 2006). His group, known simply as the Tommy Z Band, has won the Top Blues/Crossover Blues Band category (1994, 2005 and 2006). Tommy Z also got the Muddy Waters Award for "Artist of the Year", granted by the Blues Society of WNY in 2004. In 2007, he was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. [3] He once toured backing longtime Muddy Waters pianist Pinetop Perkins. [3] Tommy Z has also traveled regularly to various war torn areas since 2003, to entertain American troops overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Japan, South Korea, Djibouti, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Turkey, Guam, Alaska and other distant locales on behalf of USO/AFE. [4] He is based in Buffalo, New York. [6]

In 2005, Tommy Z and his band released their debut album, Universal Love, on South Blossom Records. [7] It was produced by Nick Blagona. [3] [8]

In 2006, Tommy Z played rhythm guitar on Ian Gillan's album, Gillan's Inn , on the remake of the Deep Purple B-side "When a Blind Man Cries," which also featured work by Jeff Healey and Jon Lord. [3] [9] In the same year, Tommy Z contributed to Michael Lee Jackson's album In a Heartbeat, [3] [10] which was recorded at the Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Tommy Z performed at Thursday at the Square in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2011.

In April 2010, Tommy Z performed at the Washington Monument for FreedomWorks' Take Back America 2010 campaign to an estimated 50,000 people. [3] In 2013, his second release, Sometimes, gained a higher profile, being played on both FM radio and the internet, and it made the initial voting for recordings submitted under the Best Blues Album category for a Grammy Award. [4] The album included Tommy Z's cover version of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's track, "Gangster of Love". [11] He and his band continue to tour appearing at music festivals both in the United States and elsewhere. [4] He is a Canisius College graduate, [3] an oftimes guitar teacher, and has composed music for film and TV including Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure, Last Comic Standing (NBC), Animal Planet's Swamp Wars (main title), and America's Next Top Model . In 2015, Tommy Z was employed as the new blues radio DJ by WBFO. [4]

Blizzard of Blues (2016) debuted at number 8 in the Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart, and was the only independent record label release on that week's list. [12] [13] Tommy Z wrote eight of the tracks on the album, which were partly inspired by both his experience of driving in blizzard conditions on Route 219 in New York, and the loss of a friend and business associate. The album was recorded in 2015 at Robby Takac's GCR Audio recording studio, with Tommy Z undertaking full production and some engineering duties. [6] [14]

The Tommy Z Band was chosen as the headliner for the 2019 and 2020 Buffalo Ball Drop, [15] the second biggest New Year's Eve celebration of its kind in the country with crowds estimated at 40,000.[ citation needed ] Tommy Z travelled to Nashville, Tennessee in January 2020 to work on the follow up to Blizzard of Blues, to be called 'Plug in and Play', with the record producer Tom Hambridge. They wrote and recorded a number of songs at Soundstage Studios, owned by the Pegulas.



YearTitleRecord label
2005Universal LoveSouth Blossom Records
2013SometimesSouth Blossom Records
2016Blizzard of BluesSouth Blossom Records


See also

Related Research Articles

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford, Hertfordshire, in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach has changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Primal Scream Scottish rock band

Primal Scream is a Scottish rock band originally formed in 1982 in Glasgow by Bobby Gillespie (vocals) and Jim Beattie. The band's current lineup consists of Gillespie, Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keyboards), Simone Butler (bass), and Darrin Mooney (drums). Barrie Cadogan has toured and recorded with the band since 2006 as a replacement after the departure of guitarist Robert "Throb" Young.

<i>Blizzard of Ozz</i> 1980 studio album by Ozzy Osbourne

Blizzard of Ozz is the debut studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released on 20 September 1980 in the UK and on 27 March 1981 in the US. The album was Osbourne's first release following his firing from Black Sabbath in 1979. Blizzard of Ozz is the first of two studio albums Osbourne recorded with guitarist Randy Rhoads prior to Rhoads' death in 1982. In 2017, it was ranked 9th on Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time".

Steve Miller Band American rock band

The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1966 in San Francisco, California. The band is led by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals. The group had a string of mid- to late-1970s hit singles that are staples of classic rock radio, as well as several earlier psychedelic rock albums. Miller left his first band to move to San Francisco and form the Steve Miller Blues Band. Shortly after Harvey Kornspan negotiated the band’s contract with Capitol Records in 1967, the band shortened its name to the Steve Miller Band. In February 1968, the band recorded its debut album, Children of the Future. It went on to produce the albums Sailor, Brave New World, Your Saving Grace, Number 5, Rock Love, Fly Like an Eagle, Book of Dreams, among others. The band's Greatest Hits 1974–78, released in 1978, sold over 13 million copies. In 2016, Steve Miller was inducted as a solo artist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jeff Healey Blind Canadian blues rock and jazz guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter

Norman Jeffrey Healey was a Canadian jazz and blues-rock vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter who attained musical and personal popularity, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. He reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with "Angel Eyes" and reached the Top 10 in Canada with the songs "I Think I Love You Too Much" and "How Long Can a Man Be Strong".

WBFO is the NPR member station for Buffalo, New York, carrying an almost entirely public news/talk format. It broadcasts from studios in the Lower Terrace section of downtown Buffalo which it shares with WNED-TV and WNED-FM. Previously, it broadcast from the South campus of the University at Buffalo. It currently leases an as-yet unutilized satellite studio in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. WBFO runs two permanent satellite stations: WUBJ in Jamestown, New York, and WOLN in Olean, New York.

<i>Perfect Strangers</i> (album) 1984 studio album by Deep Purple

Perfect Strangers is the eleventh studio album by the British rock band Deep Purple, released in 29 October 1984. It was the most successful album recorded by the reformed 'Mark II' line-up.

Robert John Daisley is an Australian musician, songwriter and author. Daisley is perhaps best known for working with English musician Ozzy Osbourne, for whom he contributed bass, backing vocals, co-production and songwriting. He has also worked with prominent rock acts including Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Gary Moore and Uriah Heep, amongst others.

Leslie West American rock guitarist

Leslie West was an American rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. He was best known as a founding member and co-lead vocalist of the hard rock band Mountain.

<i>Gillans Inn</i> 2006 studio album by Ian Gillan

Gillan's Inn is an album by Ian Gillan in celebration of his 40 years as a singer. The first release was a DualDisc composed of both a CD and a DVD side. The CD featured re-recorded tracks from all eras of Ian Gillan's singing career. In a recent interview Gillan observed that, despite the number of participants and guest appearances, this was the easiest project he ever put together.

Ian Gillan English musician

Ian Gillan is an English singer and songwriter. He is the lead singer and lyricist for the rock band Deep Purple and is known for his powerful and wide-ranging singing voice, in particular his high pitched banshee screams.

Michael Lee Jackson is an American guitarist, photographer and attorney.

Heartbeat (Buddy Holly song) Song by Buddy Holly

"Heartbeat" is a rockabilly song credited to Bob Montgomery and Norman Petty and originally recorded by Buddy Holly in 1958. The B-side of the single was "Well... All Right".

Tommy Eyre was an English session keyboardist from Sheffield, England, who appeared on records by Joe Cocker, John Martyn, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker, Alex Harvey, Greg Lake, B.B. King, John Mayall, Ian Gillan, Gerry Rafferty, Tracy Chapman and Wham!. He played on Joe Cocker's UK chart-topper "With A Little Help From My Friends", on which he arranged the distinctive organ introduction, and Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" and "Right Down the Line".

<i>One Eye to Morocco</i> 2009 studio album by Ian Gillan

One Eye To Morocco is a solo album by Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. The album material was written during the gap of Deep Purple's 2008 world tour, in the US. It was released on 6 March 2009 on Edel Records as CD, Limited Edition CD and Vinyl.

One Bad Son

One Bad Son is a Canadian rock band from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, consisting of Shane Connery Volk (vocals), Adam Hicks (guitar), and Kurt Dahl (drums). Kurt Dahl is an entertainment lawyer in Canada.

Stephen John "Steve" Byrd was a British guitarist and session musician who has worked with artists including Kim Wilde, Ian Gillan, ZZebra and many others.

<i>Live in Anaheim</i> (Ian Gillan album) 2008 live album by Ian Gillan

Live in Anaheim is a double live album from Ian Gillan, recorded live at the House of Blues, Anaheim, California on 14 September 2006 during the Gillan's Inn tour and released in April 2008 by Edel Music. The accompanying DVD of the concert was released a couple of months later.

GCR Audio

GCR Audio, formerly known as Trackmaster Audio and Inner Machine Studios, is a recording studio at 564 Franklin Street in Buffalo, New York, United States.

Terry Robb

Terry Robb is a Canadian fingerstyle guitarist, composer, arranger and record producer living in the United States. He plays electric and acoustic guitar, and is associated with the American Primitive Guitar genre through his collaboration with steel string guitarist John Fahey. He is a member of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame, and was honored with the eponymous "Terry Robb" Muddy Award for Best Acoustic Guitar in 2011. His original compositions draw on the Delta blues, ragtime, folk music, country music and jazz traditions.


  1. 1 2 "10 minutes with: Tommy Z - Gusto". Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  2. 1 2 "Tommy Z | Album Discography". AllMusic . Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Tommy Z". ReverbNation. 2005-06-08. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Tommy Z - Bio". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  5. "Home". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  6. 1 2 "Tommy Z". 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  7. Scott Yanow. "Universal Love - Tommy Z | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic . Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  8. "Nick Blagona | Credits". AllMusic . Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  9. "Gillan's Inn - Ian Gillan | Credits". AllMusic. 2006-04-18. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  10. "In a Heartbeat - Michael Lee Jackson | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  11. "Tommy Z's "Sometimes" Brings Home Some Real Guitar | American Blues Scene Magazine". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  12. "Home". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  13. "Buffalo guitar hero Tommy Z storms Billboard's top 10". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  14. "Blizzard of Blues - Tommy Z | Credits". AllMusic . Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  15. "32nd Annual Buffalo Ball Drop". Retrieved 3 December 2020.