Tom James

Contributed Profile

I am a lifelong folkie, guitarist, banjo player, and sometime songwriter. I first heard the bones played by Faith Petric of San Francisco. Twenty five years later a local band, The Free Staters, lost their bones player and advertised for a replacement. Well, I never learned the bones from Faith, but had been playing spoons for many years and weaseled my way into the band on my spoon playing, with promises of learning the bones. Jonathon Goering, our banjo player, taught me the basics, and I got some pointers from Greg Burrows when I was in New York in July of ’05. I play a very heavy pair of black angus bones (a gift from “Mr. Bones” Ownbey) in the left hand and lighter, thinner pair of buffalo bones (that I make) in the right. We play music from territorial Kansas, 1840’s and 50’s, mostly a mix of minstrel tunes, Irish ballads, and American folk songs. Long live the Rhythm Bones Society.