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Tommy Cate

Tommy Cate is a local musician known for being an amazing person - also his singing, playing guitar and most notably his signature harmonica playing that is both soulful and fun.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Tommy was exposed to all kinds of music as a kid. Early on he found enjoyment in pickin' on the 6-string and making his harmonica sing. After moving to Somerset, KY in 1990 Tommy started to frequent open-mic nights playing guitar until one fateful night he had a few harmonicas on-hand while listening to others. Tommy says "Harmonica players have no sense of personal space and, at some point, I pulled out a harp and started playing with him (Kevin Dalton). Now we’ve played together for over nine years."

If you are in Somerset, KY on a Sunday you will not find any better way to share your time than with The Gospel Hour Band. Tommy lends his voice, guitar and harp to the ensemble. In addition to this venture, Tommy also does a significant amount of side-work with other musicians and bands. When asked about a particular accomplishment he is proud of, Tommy replied "...the "Paper Airplanes" album (Kevin Dalton and the Tuesday Blooms), I am really proud of how that album turned out." Tommy continues to work with other local artists both live and in the studio. "I am also proud that I get to share my experience through teaching at a local and national level", Tommy added.

Everyone struggles with something and it is a reality for most that there is no one more critical of one's self's self. Tommy shared that "I’ve come to realize that there’s always someone that can play far better than me. And usually they’re far younger than me, too! In the early days that made me very self-conscious and timid about my playing. But in my old age, I’ve learned to enjoy the time spent with good players and to try to pick up some helpful hints from them."

Speaking of helpful hints, when asked if Tommy had any advice for those just starting out (with harmonica)? "Harmonica players have the distinct advantage of being able to put their instrument in their pocket. If I had any advice for new players it would be to do that – keep one with you and play and play and play. The only way to really learn is to have a harp stuck in your mouth as much as you can!" Good advice from a great man y'all.

Somerset, Kentucky was first settled in 1798 by Thomas Hansford and received its name from Somerset County, New Jersey, where some of the early settlers had formerly lived. Somerset became the Pulaski County seat in 1801, and was incorporated as a city in 1887. A Civil War battle was fought in January 1862 at Mill Springs (now "Nancy") about 8 miles west of Somerset, and a museum is at the site. In addition to the several artisan markets and vibrant music scene, nearby Lake Cumberland is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world (101 miles in length, with an average depth of 85 feet). Somerset is also near Cumberland Falls and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. We encourage you to visit & to plan your adventure today!

Tommy Cate tracks to check out: The Things I Can't Change (Kevin Dalton and the Tuesday Blooms), Get Me Outta My Head Again (Cody Lee Meece), Perfectly Perfect (Chris Lackey)


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