Bill Toms and Hard Rain featuring The Soulville Horns
Cleveland, OH, 44110
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Bill Toms and Hard Rain
“Bill Toms is a poet, a soul-shouter and guitar slinger with one foot in the gutter and an eye on the heavens above. And man, does he front a great rock n' soul band!” - Will Kimbrough/
While it’s hard to put a finger on any one sound that defines “American music,” the compositions of Bill Toms are as close a template as any. The Pittsburgh native, along with his band Hard Rain, delivers a sound that takes the greatest of America’s most beloved genres and melds them into a poetic representation of the best the country has to offer.
With his ninth full-length studio release, Good For My Soul (street date October 27), Toms channels a foot-stomping, wall-shaking blend of soul, blues, gospel, and rock vibes, all brought together with his lyrical specialty -- stories of everyday men and women doing their best to stay ahead while still managing to keep a dream or two in their heads.
Soaring horns, gritty licks, toe-tapping rhythms, and Toms’ own rough-hewn vocals will draw listeners in, as well as well-deserved comparisons to the greats such as Dr. John, Little Feat, Springsteen, Joe Tex, The Blasters, Otis Redding, and Rufus Thomas.
“The idea of a horn section behind my songs has been something I’ve thought about for a while,” explains Toms. “Albert King, and all the Stax artists come to mind when I think of what true rhythm and blues can do. I wanted a piece of that; creating dynamics, and drama within the song; and fostering the deep emotion that a great horn section can give. The words also needed this place-- in order to be fully interpreted as the representation of ‘my America,’ and the people who make up my small part of this world.”
Good For My Soul was recorded in February 2017 by Oscar-winning composer Rick Witkowski, who also co-produced the set with Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell, Todd Snider). Both artists have collaborated with Toms frequently on parts of his earlier catalog.
Toms launched his musical career in 1987 as lead guitarist of Pittsburgh’s legendary band Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, During that period, he opened for and played with such legendary names as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. While playing guitar, co-writing, and adding backup vocals for the Houserockers, Toms and the band recorded six studio albums and one live concert album. In 1995, The Houserockers released American Babylon, which was recorded and produced by Springsteen himself.
As a solo artist, Toms has opened for the likes of Buddy Guy, Levon Helm, Marshall Crenshaw, The Kennedys, Steve Forbert, and Ellis Paul. He’s plotting a string of regional east coast dates to support Good For My Soul, as well as a full European tour in 2018.
For more information and tour dates, please visit www.billtoms.com
Robbing Mary has been delighting crowds with their heartfelt, heartland music throughout the greater Cleveland area for more than a decade. The band has crafted a unique blend of Alternative Country, Americana, Roots Rock and good old Rock N' Roll. Beginning in 2004, with original members Dan Mills on Vocals and Guitar, Stephen Keefe on Bass, and Jen Vilimonovic on Violin and Vocals, the early version of RM assembled an eclectic collection of original material to share with audiences. As time went on they added Rom Cullers on Guitar and Vocals, David Drotos on Keyboard and Vocals, and most recently Scott Mehalko on Drums and Percussion. Together as a tight knit unit of seasoned musicians featuring dynamic harmonies, incredible musicianship and shared lead vocals between the band members, there is something for everyone offered at a Robbing Mary concert.
In 2009, the band released their first EP, Groveland. Independently released, Groveland opened the doors and set the stage for what was to follow. Robbing Mary released their full-length debut album El Otro Lado in 2011. El Otro Lado showcased a strength in songwriting that far surpasses what could be simply considered the work of a “local” band. This powerhouse record has been successful in sparking interest in Robbing Mary and allowing the band to stand on stages near and far. El Otro Lado opened doors for Robbing Mary to garner a widespread fan base, and was followed by their 2015 album Electric, further demonstrating the talents of the band and its impact on the music scene in Cleveland. Recorded at the legendary SUMA Recording Studio, where such infamous bands as The Black Keys and Grand Funk Railroad recorded classic albums, Electric builds upon the strong foundation that was laid on their past releases, yet forges a strong new path into the future.
Robbing Mary has had the privilege of supporting some fantastic acts in their career, from opening for Marshall Crenshaw to sharing the stage with bands like the Blasters, Garland Jeffries, Sons of Bill, The FloorWalkers, Backyard Tire Fire and Carlos Jones, to name a few. Robbing Mary has held its own, standing shoulder to shoulder with musical giants. The list of festivals and venues is far too numerous to include all, but just to name a few: Painesville Party in the Park – Ohio's largest free music festival, Burning River Fest, Twilight at the Zoo, Cain Park, Brew Ridge Festival, Charlottesville, VA, Roots of American Music Benefit, Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, Wilbert's and Jacob's Pavilion. Robbing Mary has also been featured on WJW FOX 8 Cleveland, WRUW 91.1 and TheRockOffice.com Podcast and Blog. The press is also very much in Robbing Mary's corner. Bill Smith the executive producer and co-host of TheRockOffice.com had this to say about the band, “this is a band that understands and appreciates the traditions of the past and strives to create authentic heartland music that is seldom heard these days.”