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Tom Ovans


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Itinerant song man Tom Ovans has long been an outsider, a restless traveler on the spin. Born just outside of Boston, Massachusetts in 1953, he’s lived a life on the margins. If music has been his one constant, still he has always faced what had to be faced, done what had to be done - whether that be carpentry, painting or roofing, working in construction, factories or warehouses. Prissy, overwrought singer-songwriters everywhere, today as always, can talk the big talk, but craftsmen think with their hearts and work with their hands.

As a chronicler and troubadour, Ovans has trod a rough and ragged musical path across the States. In the early ’70s in New York City he walked the walk with a junked-out Tim Hardin and knocked-out loaded Phil Ochs. Over the years he has drifted, been homeless, stood proud, lain low, dug deep but always moved on.

Following stints on the east coast, west coast, a short spell in New Orleans and 18 long years in Nashville, Tom Ovans landed in Austin, Texas, six years ago with his painter wife Lou Ann Bardash. Together, they continue to live on the edge, away from the spotlight, fame or glare. He only rarely gigs or tours.

A self-taught musician, Ovans released his first album, ‘Industrial Days,’ in 1991. Attracting increasingly widespread respect and acclaim, an impressive series of raw and gritty, moving and inspired albums followed. ‘Dead South’ in 1997 was his first masterpiece, 1999’s ‘The Beat Trade’ was even better.

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