TJ is an original, but his music is steeped in timeless traditions of Blues & Jazz. As a teenager in Washington, he saw Buddy Guy and Son House, and instantly became a bona fide Blues Guy, beginning his lifetime of playing guitar and teaching about the Blues. TJ’s first teaching experience was at the age of 19 at a school in Poulsbo, WA where he did a concert followed by a workshop about the roots of blues music.
TJ met blues harmonica player Pat “Hat Rack” Gallagher from Boston, and they formed a duo and played around Seattle. In 1974, Gallagher and TJ moved back to New England and formed a band called The Ragtime Millionaires. While in Maine, TJ rekindled his Blues education efforts doing concerts and workshops in local colleges. The Ragtime Millionaires played in New Hampshire at the Stone Church, the Kearsarge House and other clubs on the Seacoast. In 1980, TJ moved to Portsmouth, NH where he has spent most of his life.
TJ was accepted to the “Artist in Education” program of the New Hampshire Council for the Arts in 1988. For over 40 years, he has been a leading proponent of Blues, Jazz and overall roots music in school programs, not just in New Hampshire and Maine, but all over America and much of the world.
TJ’s award-winning Hope, Heroes & the Blues integrated arts program has reached roughly 500,000 students across five continents. In 1993, TJ and his program received the prestigious W.C. Handy (The Father of the Blues) Keeping the Blues Alive in Education award from the International Blues Foundation in Memphis.
He introduced his Blues in the Schools program to Ottawa, England, Jackson (MI), Nashville, the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle, Brazil, Cuba, and Ghana and many other school districts in the Americas, Europe and Africa. All these years later, TJ is still spreading the message that you sing the Blues to lose the Blues.