The Center for the Arts presents
Tom Rigney and Flambeau
Saturday, May 6, 8:00PM
“Never less than spellbinding. The eclectic and sizzling music runs the gamut from gritty zydeco and funky blues to New Orleans jazz and lyrical Cajun waltzes. Melodic…passionate…above all, infectious.” – Dirty Linen Magazine
“If Ry Cooder’s out of the budget, you might come calling for a guy named Tom Rigney. The Bay Area fiddle player is an all-American eclectic and his instrumental album, Chasin’ The Devil, is moody evocative, original and energetic.” – Inside Report
Tom Rigney has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area roots music scene for more than thirty-five years. In 2000, after fifteen years as the leader and electrifying violinist of The Sundogs, fiddler/composer Tom Rigney stepped out on his own with a hot new band, Flambeau. The repertoire is original, eclectic, passionate, and filled with a musical and emotional intensity that will come as no surprise to followers of Rigney’s career.
The son of baseball great, Bill Rigney, Tom is a native of the Bay Area. His musical career began after he finished his graduate studies at Harvard University, where he received a Masters degree in Fine Arts.
Tom first rose to prominence in the music scene as the leader/fiddler of the legendary Bluegrass/Western Swing band, Back in the Saddle. He won a Bammie award in 1981 for the band’s debut recording. He also wrote their hit song, “Time and Again”, which rode the country music charts in the Bay Area for many weeks, no small achievement for an independent release.
After the demise of Back in the Saddle, Tom joined Queen Ida’s Bon Temps Zydeco Band and toured the world with the Queen in 1983 and 1984. It was at this time that he developed a love of South Louisiana dance music (Cajun, zydeco, and New Orleans second line grooves). These styles formed a major ingredient in the sound of his next band, The Sundogs. Teaming with songwriter Joe Paquin and slide guitarist T.J. Politzer, Tom and The Sundogs performed and recorded together for fifteen years. They released seven CD’s (and even an LP!), including two on the Rounder label. Their last recording, Dancing Room Only, spent eight weeks on the Americana Radio charts nationally. They toured extensively across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, performing at numerous major festivals and concerts and at more dances and nightclubs than anyone cares to remember. Their sound was a scorching blend of Cajun, blues, and roots Rock and Roll–original Americana music that struck a nerve with audiences all over the globe.
And now, with the broadening and deepening of his composing skills, and the refinement of his virtuoso technique on the violin, Tom Rigney steps out as the focal point of Flambeau, and as the creator of most the band’s music. The strong Cajun/zydeco influence is still present, as are the irresistible dance grooves that have been his specialty for twenty years. But there is also a deepening of the emotional range of his music and a concentration on creating moving and memorable melodies in a wide range of styles–he has literally become a “singer” on the violin. The music bursts with the energy of the bayou one minute, turns passionate with a gypsy tune the next; it can raise the roof with a Celtic reel and then touch the heart with a beautiful waltz; it can drive deep into the heart of the Blues or evoke echoes of Eastern Europe or the coast of Spain.
In 1998, Tom released the critically-acclaimed “Chasing the Devil” on the Parhelion label. In 2000, he released Flambeau’s debut CD, “Red Boots and