Tom Cochrane Calgary Folk Festival Biography

It is kind of a rock ‘n’ roll Cinderella story. An ordinary guy, who had spent time driving a cab, meat packing, being a phone book delivery guy and a dish washer, sees Canadian rock band Red Rider play, and ends up not just joining them, but becoming their lead singer and songwriter Several albums and countless accolades later, he leaves Red Rider and embarks on a solo career that gains him more recognition and fans than Red Rider ever had. One record even sells more than 2 million copies.

Now, as the Canadian rock icon he has become, Tom Cochrane remains the same down-to-earth guy he was when he started. “If you’re a good song writer, that’s what you are first – a human being, not a star or celebrity.”

Cochrane is a sonic journalist, committed to making meaningful, substantive music that explores the human condition. He takes aim at the confusing end-of-millennium commercial malaise of the human condition, pens songs about domestic violence, poet Sylvia Plath, native gang violence, and even the odd swampy apocalyptic blues piece with sly allusions to new-age ‘fast food’ religion and millennial anxiety. Tom’s never been interested in being self-conscious, navel-gazing, sentimental or trendy; he paints a straightforward picture of the world as he sees it. With keen insight, quiet intelligence and a sensibility both compassionate and angry, he creates deceptively simple songs that cut to the heart, hit a nerve, and make people feel less alone in the world for a few minutes.

With widely ranging musical influences – rock, folk, blues, world music – his songs’ arrangements diversify beyond straight rock ‘n’ roll, including spare instrumentation and tribal chanting, inspired by old public domain Scottish folk songs. He has gone through periods of reinventing himself, questioning both what he does and what role the music industry plays, resulting in the stripping down of his songs for the Music and Words concert tour and subsequent CDs.

Like the best songwriters in any genre, Tom Cochrane has penned tunes that have become a soundscape for people’s lives.