Tom Coxworth has left no corner of the folk music world unexplored. He's been across Canada since the 1970s, following the music. On the way he has collected more songs, stories and friends than any historian could ever count.
Tom's talent as a host is in bringing his audience along on the adventure. There's a reason he has a dedicated fan following. He's a crackerjack storyteller. He takes his listeners deeper into each song. Lyrics, history, song-writing insights and entertaining tales all come to life when Tom is at the mic.
The Calgarian has been a radio host since 1986. He started at CJSR, the University of Alberta's campus station, on a Celtic program. Some might recognize his then-cohost's name -- Andy Donnelly, long-time host of The Celtic Show on CKUA.
Beyond the millions of songs in the CKUA library, Tom has his own musical library at his fingertips. A self-described "obsessive" music collector, his personal collection holds over 10,000 albums.
Don't try to narrow down his interests. Tom's personal tastes are as wide and varied as the country he traverses. His shelves hold everything from jazz to electronic "and plenty of rock 'n' roll and pop."
His favourite, though? British/British Beat music from 1945 to 1970. "The most important period in pop, and folk, music history," he says.
Yet it was the 16th century folk song, Tam Lin, that changed his life when he discovered it in the 1970s. It's evident it made an impact: his daughter is named Tam-Lynn.
If you find yourself at a folk festival -- any folk festival in Canada -- keep an eye out for Tom. There's a good chance he's there with his good buddy Andy. They're likely racking up yet another story for their collections. Who knows? You might end up a part of this one.
Folk Routes is a friendly, two-hour pleasure cruise through the full spectrum of folk and folk-oriented music. Each week, Tom Coxworth traces the development of folk music from its European traditions to the blended influences of modern North American folk stylings. “It’s a real challenge to cover the full spectrum of folk because it’s such an open genre,” he says, citing his quest to look for the folk in all music, whether it’s Woodie Guthrie, the Everly Brothers, the Beatles, Sandy Denny, Justin Rutledge, Bright Eyes, Serena Ryder, Joe Strummer or other artists.