Legendary musician and Buffalo native Tom Hambridge honored for a lifetime of accolades
Mayor Byron Brown declared December 28, 2015 as ‘Tom Hambridge Day’ in the City of Buffalo. Hambridge, a Buffalo native and Grammy-winning producer has played and worked with the likes of B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and ZZ Top.
Hambridge’s mother Fay said her son was always drumming on things as a child, from surfaces in the house to the dashboard of the family car. Growing up in Western New York, Hambridge said Buffalo’s music scene had a big influence on his career.
“I remember being in high school opening shows for Spyro Gyra, and I played the old Tralfamadore, and going to see Jazz music in Buffalo downtown,” said Hambridge. “I think there was just so much music around that it definitely was inspirational.”
Hambridge left Western New York after high school to pursue to degree at the Berkley School of Music in Boston and further his musical career. He continued to play in Boston before moving to Nashville. These days, his accolades are nearly too many to list, but in addition to having a successful career of his own, Hambridge has stayed committed to educating others.
He is often asked to speak to students and conduct song-writing clinics. When he does, he tells kids who want to be like him that a career in music is not an easy road.
“You can’t give up,” he tells students. “A lot of doors are going to not open for you and it’s going to be some tough times. But if it’s your passion, if it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s in your blood, and you want to do it – I think in any field – you just keep moving forward. And when people say ‘no’ you disagree and you keep rocking.”
Hambridge, was just nominated for a Grammy Award for his collaboration on Buddy Guy’s latest record, Born to Play Guitar. He has produced albums for the late BB King and, being no stranger to the blues, has recently written an album for children that he hopes will come out within the next year or so.
“So it turns kids on to the blues. Subject matter would be focused to them, but the music would be blues,” said Hambridge.
Hambridge is also in the midst of wrapping up production on an album of Pope John Paul II’s prayers set to music. Hambridge said he was approached by The Vatican to create the album, because they always thought the Pope’s originally written prayers might make good songs.
“If you could have specific artists try to interpret that, we could write some music for it. So that’s what I’ve been doing,” explained Hambridge. “I was able to get Buddy Guy involved and another artist named Mike Farris. They called and asked me if I could help and that’s what I’ve been doing. So it’s another crazy little…you never know what’s around the corner in this business and when the Vatican called I just jumped at it.”