Album Review: Crooked Eye Tommy

Butterflies & Snakes
Crooked Eye Tommy
Review by Pam Baumgardner
July 2015

CD CoverTommy Marsh is one of the most sweetest, generous, hardest working men in town, but he also happens to be one talented blues man who also has the smarts to surround himself with uber-talented musicians on his latest project, Crooked Eye Tommy.

In 2014, the newly-formed band competed in the Memphis International Blues Challenge where bands from 16 countries converged for the top prize.  Our active blues community really came together to raise funds to get the band to the competition (See article and photo gallery).  Crooked Eye Tommy went; they played hard and advanced a long way reaching the Semi Final round.
CET_logoIt was soon after Memphis that Tommy took the boys into the studio to produce Butterflies & Snakes because when you’re on that sort of high you want to harness the energy.  Well mission accomplished.  Without a doubt, Tommy writes from the heart, he divulges life experiences, digging down deep, intimate, soul revealing, and totally committed to each song, no holds barred.  His singing, his playing, his writing, he just lays it down from the heart.

The CD opens with “Crooked Eye Tommy” with clean guitar work from the brothers setting the tone and a little background on Tommy’s adversities growing up with an eye which doesn’t quite align right, “The world is going to see what a crooked eye can do.”

“I stole the Blues” written and sung by Paddy reveals who molded their musical education from the likes of  Muddy Waters, Albert King, Johnny Winter, T Bone Walker and even Jerry Garcia which brings a smile to my face every time I hear that. As with most of Crooked Eye Tommy songs, you get great solos and musical interludes deserving of a packed dance floor; and of course Jimmy Calire’s sax solo is nothing short of brilliant.  I love the line, “Well you know I stole the blues, now it’s time to give it back.”

“AftCrooked-Eye-tommy1er the Burn” has become a staple here in town almost the band’s signature tune. “Over and Over” is so intimate, I have to confess that I blushed the first time I heard it.

“Mad and Disgusted” is a prime example of the brothers in sync, flawlessly complimenting each others guitar work, along with Jimmy tearing up the keyboards.

I Love the steel guitar work on “Southern Heart” compliments of Jesse Siebenberg, which has a definite southern country feel, in fact, several pieces don’t fit the traditional Blues mold and that’s okay; a little southern flair, rock and roll and blues meshed together makes for an interesting combination.  Add to the equation talent and incredible mastering, this one hits it out of the park for Tommy.

The players are Tommy’s brother Paddy Marsh (the talent runs deep in this family), add to the mix highly respected and high in demand drummer, Tony Cicero,  Glade Rasmussen, one of the solidest bass players in town and music icon Jimmy Calire (Raven, America).

Tommy Marsh – Guitar
Paddy Marsh – Guitar
Jimmy Calire – Organ and Sax
Tony Cicero – Drums
Glade “BoomBoom” Rasmussen – Bass

Produced by Tommy Marsh, Dan Grimm and Tammy Mosby; recorded at Brotheryn Studios and engineered and mastered by Jason “Gandalf” Mariani.

Official website


Crooked Eye Tommy

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 11/26 – 12/9

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
Getting into the Swing of Things
by Pam Baumgardner

Ventura Jazz OrchestraIt’s good to have Alistair Greene back after hitting the road with Mickey Thomas and Starship earlier this month. Thomas is the voice behind such hits as “Jane,” “Find Your Way Back” (Jefferson Starship), and “We Built this City” as well as “Sara” (Starship). Greene told me, “I’m very fortunate to have the chance to play with such a legendary singer and band as Starship featuring Mickey Thomas. I’m filling in for my buddy John Roth who is on tour with Winger at the moment. Mickey and the band sound amazing, and it’s a blast playing all those great hits from his career. He still sounds like he did in the 70s!”

Nothing like a big band dance to get you into the holiday spirits! Ventura Jazz Orchestra’s Holiday Swing soiree with the vocal stylings of Donna Greene will be at the Poinsettia Pavilion on Friday, December 5, featuring great songs from all eras you can dance to. Call for ticket information at (805) 648-1143.

Speaking of a throwback to a “simpler” time, The Saloon BBQ at 456 E. Main Street will be throwing a bash also on Friday, December 5, with a Prohibition Repeal party, “The 21st Amendment Jubilee”. There will be beverage specials all day long with live music starting at 8:00 with The Rachel Sorsa Band and their 1930’s style of jazz.

Chris Jensen from 50 Sticks of Dynamite gave me the head’s up about a project he’s been working on with fellow Ventura musicians, Evan Gosworth, Roy Katnic, Paddy Marsh, Brad Strickland and Gary Sula-Goff. It’s a Grateful Dead tribute band called Nine Mile Skid. They have a couple of dates lined up including December 10 at Green Art People, then on December 28 at Amigos’s on Main Street.

Under new ownership, Rock City Studios in Camarillo will be pulling out all the stops for their grand re-opening on Friday, December 5, with the national touring act, Dead Sara. The Galvanized Souls will open the show.

The Golden China is offering more music more often along with their nightly Karaoke. Thursdays continue to offer swing, Fridays have a DJ with Cumbia music and now Sunday evenings will be devoted to Reggae. Don’t forget they have an open mic night Tuesdays starting at 6:00 with the back line provided.

The whole family will enjoy the street fair along Main Street in downtown Ventura on December 6. What a great way to get unique gift ideas for the holidays including the highly prized t-shirt! The Winter Wine Walk kicks off at 4:00 with snowfall at California and Main beginning at 6:45. Music will be provided by The Bomb, The Midnight Band and the British Beats.

And finally, congratulations to Todd Hannigan on his recent marriage to artist Brigette Lopez. They tied the knot in November in Ojai. I can’t wait to hear the music she’ll be inspiring out of him!

If you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing?  Send all information short or long to