TOM PRINCIPATO BIOGRAPHY
Longtime Washington DC-area bluesman Tom Principato has become a regional favorite and over the past 40 years of offering his own style of roots guitar heroics has performed with fellow musicians and compatriots like Albert Lee, Danny Gatton, Bullmoose Jackson,Duke Robillard, Tommy Lepson and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos.
Tom Principato has spent the last 40+ years as a guitarist and singer based in his hometown of Washington, D.C. In the 1970’s, Tom was leader of the legendary band Powerhouse, an East Coast phenomenem who released an album “Night Life” to critical acclaim. Tom also did a one year stint with Geoff Muldaur and recorded an album “I Ain’t Drunk” (Hannibal/Island Records 1980) with the band Geoff Muldaur and His Bad Feet members of which included Andy Stein (Asleep At The Wheel)).
Tom has also done brief stints with various acts including Billy Price And The Keystone Rhythm Band, Big Mama Thornton, Sunnyland Slim, James Montgomery, and a group called The Assassins with Jimmy Thackery, former guiatrist with The Nighthawks. Tom appears on two albums with the Assassins, “No Previous Record” (1986) and “Partners In Crime” (1987) which won a “Wammy Award”.
In 1984 Tom began a solo career, notably recording a live album with the late Washington guitar legend Danny Gatton titled “Blazing Telecasters”. This album was considered by The National Academy Of Recorded Arts And Sciences (NARAS) for a Grammy Nomination.
Tom Principato discography
Smokin’! (1986) I Know What You’re Thinkin’… (1989) Blazing Telecasters (1990) In Orbit (1990) Hot Stuff (l991 – out of print) Tip Of The Iceberg (l992) In The Clouds (1995) Really Blue (1997) Blues Over the Years (1998) Live and Kickin’ (1999) Not One Word… (2000) “Live In Europe 1988” (2001) “Fingers On Fire” with Pete Kennedy (2002) “House On Fire” (2003) “Oh No! More Blazing Telecasters” (2005) “Guitar Gumbo” (2005) “Raising The Roof” (2008) “A Part Of Me” (2011) “Robert John Told Me So” (2013) Also two DVD’s: “Blazing Telecasters” from a show recorded for Maryland Public Televsion in 1984 with Danny Gatton “Anniversary DVD”, a career retrospective. (2003)
The band has toured clubs and festivals extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe including Norway, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, France, Slovenia, Finland, Italy, Sardegna, Corsica, Spain, Portugal, Majorca, Menorca, St. Croix, and even Greece and Turkey!
In addition to winning first place in the WHFS/Harmony Hut “Guitar Talent Hunt” (1980) Tom has won a total of 22 “WAMMY” Awards from the Washington Area Music Association. In 1986, “Smokin’!” won three Wammy Awards; Best Blues Album, Best Male Vocalist-Blues, and Best Blues Instrumentalist. In 1987 Tom won four Wammy Awards; Best Artist/Group-Blues, Best Male Vocalist-Blues, Best Instrumentalist-Blues, and Best Recording-Blues for The Assassins “Partners In Crime” album. In 1988 Tom won three more Wammies; Best Blues Recording-“I Know What You’re Thinkin’…”, Best Artist/Group-Blues, and Best Instrumentalist-Blues. Tom also won Best Instrumentalist-Blues in 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, and 2001, plus Best Male Vocalist-Blues in 1997. In 1999 “Live & Kickin'” won Best Blues Recording, and Tom Principato Band won Best Blues Group. In 2003 “House On Fire” won Best Blues Recording. In 2006 “Guitar Gumbo” won best Blues Recording and Tom won Best Blues Vocalist. Tom Principato Band was also voted “Blues Act Of The Year”-1997 and “Blues Act Of The Month” for Oct. 1997 by the listeners of “Talkin’ Blues Radio” Koln, Germany and Gitarre & Bass Magazine.
Since the 1990’s Tom has signed endorsement agreements with Fender Electric Guitar Co., DR String Co., Seymour Duncan pickups, Roger Mayer effects pedals. (Roger Mayer personally made effects pedals and experimental electronic gadgets for Jimi Hendrix), and Soundseat: “The most comfortable music seat ever built.”
Tom’s 1992 Recording “Tip Of The Iceberg” was co-produced by Chuck Leavell, a keyboard player who has played with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers Band, and Sea Level. Chuck also appears on Tom’s “Really Blue” CD. In 1995 Tom’s song “In The Clouds” was considered for another Grammy nomination.
In 2000 Tom’s book “Open-String Guitar Chords” was published world-wide by Hal Leonard Corporation.