In the 80’s he would move with his young family back to Nebraska, where he quickly deduced he would have to extensively tour to both coasts to make this profession work. And tour he did, from venues like Passim in Boston, to the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, to the Seattle Folklore Society- and to Portland, which became a 2nd home to him, due to the friendship of Don Younger, who owned Portland’s iconic Horse Brass Pub. Tom would bunk with him, and other pals in Portland, while he traveled the Pacific Seaboard and performed at colleges, folk societies, coffee houses, and venues of all kinds.
In 1988 Tom was flown to Portland to perform for a fan’s 40th birthday at the Horse Brass- an event that grew to be Portland’s largest annual folk event of the year, “Winterfolk”. ( sadly postponed in this Covid year, but back in 2022) Utah Phillips, Peter Yarrow, Tom Paxton, Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, Anne Hills, and so many other nationally known acoustic artists have joined Tom and regional favorites Kate Power and Steve Einhorn, Mary Flower, and dozens of others to raise money for the less fortunate. More than $350,000 has been raised over the past 32 years.
Along the way, Tom has released 14 albums of original material, on his own and various folk record labels. He also began another legacy project in 1985, “River City Folk”, which became a weekly nationally syndicated radio program. At one time carried by as many as 200 radio stations, today it still survives-profiling the work of other musicians working to get their music heard. In Portland, it can be heard on www.folkmusicnotebook.com twice each Saturday, at 4 and 10PM.