Tom Letson is a musician and visual artist who’s been hurlin’ songs into the vast expanse for over 10 years. Early on, he felt a humble calling to follow in the footsteps of musical pioneer Woody Guthrie, setting off to each crack and crevice of the United States by freight train & thumb. Seeking refuge under bridges and sleeping beside highways, he considers it a pleasant surprise to have made it this long. He eventually landed up in Alaska, where he spent the better part of his 20s living remotely, and continues splitting his seasons there. This alternative lifestyle is a key ingredient behind the inspiration of his songwriting. After grinding his teeth as a buskin’ hobo, he worked his way up to perform at various bars, venues, and festivals across North America through skillful songwriting, fingerpicking, slide guitar, and clawhammer banjo. He is an outsider artist whose unique lifestyle contributes to his creative storytelling. With that, there is a raw honesty rooted in his work that manages to attract listeners wherever he roams & rambles.
In his personal life, Letson is always working to find a balance between a subsistence & troubadour lifestyle. “It definitely hasn’t been an easy road” he says, “but it’s given me a life worth living.” His songs branch out of traditional music, anywhere from the Appalachian Mountains to the Pre-War Blues. As if resonating from the same hollers as Roscoe Holcomb, or ringing out from the same streets as Blind Willie Johnson. He writes as a therapeutic tool by poetically vomiting out a prose that carries you through as if caught in a dream. They tend to be a little dark, a little gritty, and rich with life experiences.
In 2023, he was joined by percussionist and brother Justin Letson to form the duo Tom Letson & The Letdown. They are currently based out of Oregon, and can be found playing shows around the Pacific Northwest.