Tom Munch has brought a blend of Southwest-folk-jazz to Southern Colorado's music scene for two decades. Tom has performed at a wide variety of venues, including concerts and festivals, restaurants and schools, civic events and nursing homes, and even dude ranches and the Royal Gorge Bridge.
His versatility also is seen in an impressive repertoire of some 2,500 songs. Styles include jazz standards, western, folk, classic rock, R&B, children's and rare historic songs, plus originals. Tom finds the heart of each song and performs with a love of music and respect for his audience, whether it be in a concert setting or for his weekly work with Alzheimer's patients.
Tom has released six CDs: 'Tribute,' featuring classic jazz standards in a tribute to his father; 'Signature,' 'Profile' and 'Down to Earth,' featuring an eclectic mix of favorites from the past 20 years of playing; and 'Christmas,' a collection of holiday songs. His current project is a retrospective colonial music CD for the Zebulon Pike Bicentennial featuring a collaboration with Don Richmond and Rex Rideout titled 'A Voyage of Such Nature.'
Tom spent much of his life in New Mexico where he acquired an ear for both Southwest music and Texas two-step. He melded these musical loves with his formal education in music from the University of Nebraska. In Pueblo Tom stretched his musical talents into the realm of producing concerts by bringing in nationally renowned folk artists. He also produced numerous concerts featuring local musicians through his participation in the Pueblo Songwriters and Musicians Association.
Though best known as a solo artist, Tom also performs in ensembles from time to time. He plays in a hot bluegrass/R&B/funk/folk group called Drive, performs at several festivals & events with the '50s rock band, the Atomic Fireballs, and the latest is a duo with Johnny Watson on congas.
Tom's strength lies in his ability to adapt to any venue and audience. He can croon with the best or bring the audience to its feet with a toe tapper, all the while with a smile and a genuine affection for the music.
Tom Munch keeps his music down to earth
By PETER ROPER
The Pueblo Chieftain
Few Pueblo-area entertainers have shown the staying power that Tom Munch and his guitar have since the Nebraska man dropped his suitcase and declared the Steel City home in 1985.
'I wasn't planning on playing music full time back then, although that was my dream,' the 41-year-old musician explained during a recent interview. 'But I started playing a few local gigs and it sort of took off from there.'
Since coming to Pueblo, Munch has put together a following that has allowed him to market four CDs of songs in the past four years. The most recent, 'Down to Earth,' is available locally at Tivoli's, 325 S. Union Ave., and Dee's Too Gourmet in the Sunset Plaza Shopping Center.
Munch uses his fine guitar playing and mellow voice to showcase both old and new material. Typically, he tries to revive some historic music on an album as well as covering well-known favorites such as 'Stardust.'
He isn't afraid to try something outrageous, either. 'I've worked out an instrumental version of 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' that my friends think is pretty interesting,' he said with a laugh.
Munch has such a warm manner and style of music that listeners are immediately comfortable. That's why he has been a regular entertainer at clubs and restaurants around the region. When area people are looking for a reliable professional to entertain at parties or events, Munch's telephone rings.
'When I first came to town, I didn't really have the skills or the repertoire to make it full time as an entertainer, but I was fortunate enough to land a steady gig at the Pueblo West Best Western,' Munch said. 'That turned into a 10-year stand and during that time, I was able to improve and develop the confidence that I could do this for a living.'
Although he grew up in Nebraska, Munch was very familiar with the Pueblo region, too.
'My family used to spend summers in the New Mexico mountains and I'd always loved this part of the country,' he said.
He started playing the guitar as a teen-ager and like thousands of other young players of that era, was heavily influenced by folk-rock singers like James Taylor, Cat Stevens, John Denver and others.
'But when I'd come to New Mexico, I'd hear more country music out of the Texas and Oklahoma traditions - people like Lyle Lovett and Nancy Griffith - and all of it had its influence on me,' he explained.
Munch writes his own songs as well, but has tended to stick to more established material when recording. 'I've even revived old tunes from the Civil War and included them among more contemporary songs,' he said.
In the past few years, Munch has also branched out from a solo act and plays in two local bands as well. One band, called the Atomic Fireballs - a play on the flaming hot candy that became so popular in the 1950s - specializes in the rock 'n' roll from that era.
The other is a jazzier band, called Drive, and it plays an eclectic collection of music.
'Both have fine musicians in them and we have great fun,' Munch said.
PLACES I'VE PLAYED
Here's a list of most of the places I've played over the past 20 years. Some of the locations are gone now.
HIGHLIGHTS - Broadmoor - Colorado Springs, Cherry Creek Arts Festival - Denver, NewWestFest - Fort Collins, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Taos Inn - Taos, Donkey Derby Days - Cripple Creek, Black Rose Acoustic Society - Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak International Raceway, Royal Gorge - Canon City, Gold Rush Days - Buena Vista, Old Dillon Inn - Dillon, Colorado State Fair, Mitchell Museum - Trinidad, Sangre de Cristo Arts Center - Pueblo, Historic Arkansas Riverwalk Groundbreaking - Pueblo, Rosemount Museum - Pueblo, Marriott Hotel - Pueblo
RESTAURANTS - La Cocina - Taos, Le Bunnerie - Taos, Carriage House - Pueblo, Baker Creek - Cuchara, Nick's Bistro - Pueblo, Solid Ground - Pueblo West, Parkside Steak House - Pueblo, Cafe del Rio - Pueblo
HOTELS - Broadmoor - Colorado Springs, Pueblo West Inn - Pueblo West, St. Cloud Hotel - Canon City, Taos Inn - Taos, River Mountain Lodge - Breckenridge, Holiday Inn - Pueblo & Frisco, La Veta Inn - La Veta, Marriott Hotel - Pueblo
CLUBS - Laddy's - Arvada, Savoy - Pueblo, Riverside - Pueblo, Sagebrush Inn - Taos, Texas Reds - Red River, NM, WaZubi's - Trinidad, Gabe's Ragtime - Pueblo, Peaceful Henry's - Guffey, Old Dillon Inn - Dillon, S.T.'s Pour House - Pueblo West, 50's West - Pueblo, Timbers - Cuchara, Rendezvous - Pueblo, McGuffeys - Lincoln, NE, The Rose - Lincoln, NE
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS - Don K Guest Ranch - Wetmore, Colorado State Fair, Pines Guest Ranch - Westcliffe, Yellow Pine Guest Ranch - Cuchara, Buckskin Joe - Canon City, Royal Gorge Bridge - Canon City
SCHOOLS - McClelland - Pueblo, Lamar Community College - Lamar, Pikes Peak Community College - Colorado Springs, University of Southern Colorado - Pueblo
MUSEUMS - Mitchell Museum - Trinidad, El Pueblo Museum - Pueblo, Rosemount Museum - Pueblo, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Sangre de Cristo Arts Center - Pueblo
FESTIVALS & EVENTS - Santa Fe Trail Days - Trinidad, Gold Rush Days - Buena Vista, Art on the Arkansas - Canon City, Missouri Days - Fowler, Cherry Creek Arts Festival - Denver, Beulah Arts Festival - Beulah, Donkey Derby Days - Cripple Creek, Candlelight Concert Series - Trinidad, NewWestFest - Fort Collins, Oktoberfest - La Veta, Oktoberfest - Royal Gorge, Earth Day - Pueblo, Memory Walk - Pueblo, Canon Rose - Canon City, Kiowa County Fair - Eads, Philmont Scout Ranch - Cimarron, NM, Historic Arkansas Riverwalk Groundbreaking - Pueblo, Music & Munchin' on Main - Pueblo, Knife & Fork Club - Canon City, Holy Cross Abbey - Canon City, Mountain Acoustic Musicians Association - Woodland Park, Black Rose Acoustic Society - Colorado Springs, Business After Hours - Pueblo, Gourmet Sampler - Canon City, World Wide Cruises - Canon City & Pueblo
OTHER VENUES - Borders - Colorado Springs, Barnes & Noble - Colorado Springs & Pueblo, Pueblo Convention Center - Pueblo, Tivoli's - Pueblo, Pike's Peak International Raceway, Pueblo Records & Tapes - Pueblo, St. Mary Corwin Hospital - Pueblo, VFW Pueblo West, Elks Lodge - Pueblo & Florence
PRIVATE PARTIES - Rio Rancho, NM (Albuquerque), Taos, NM, Trinidad, Cuchara, La Veta, Gardner, Westcliffe, Pueblo, Beulah, Eads, Las Animas, Canon City, Penrose, Florence, Guffey, Woodland Park, Victor, Colorado Springs, Parker, Denver, Golden, Steamboat Springs, Greeley
I've included clips of my two main bands - the Atomic Fireballs and Drive. The Atomic Fireballs concentrates on 50's tunes & Western music, & we play a lot of car shows, receptions, & outdoor events. Drive is a crazy eclectic band with an emphasis on acoustic R&B & driving beat - hence the name.
I also have a duo called Munch & Watson (acoustic guitar & conga drum) which has been known to do a unique mixture of live music & DJ'ing which is very popular.
Check out the sample songlist below. I tried to provide a variety to show all the styles I play.
I CAN PROVIDE WHATEVER YOU NEED FOR YOUR EVENT.