Tom Roznowski is a songwriter, a storyteller, a performer, and a singer. He expresses himself creatively in a variety of forms including music, the printed word, broadcast media, and film. He is widely known for his original songs, which he performs live and has presented on four albums: A Well Traveled Porch, Voice Beyond The Hill, This Place In Time, and selections on Wilderness Plots.
A Well Traveled Porch rose to Number 24 on the Gavin Americana Chart. Voice Beyond The Hill established a presence in Europe, where the song "Hank's There" placed in the Top Ten of the European Country Chart. This Place In Time received a five star review from the music magazine, Maverick - their highest rating. As a live performer, Tom Roznowski has shared the stage with a number of artists including John Prine, Lyle Lovett, Richard Thompson, and Gillian Wech and David Rawlings.
His original work includes the Hometown series, focused on life in the Midwest during the 1920s. Hometown is comprised of over 450 audio episodes, an Emmy nominated public television special and a book (An American Hometown) published by Indiana University Press. Tom has also written and narrated Memory Chain, an on-going collection of short films with stories based on recently discovered panoramic photographs from the early 20th Century.
Originally from upstate New York, Tom has lived in Indiana most of his adult life. He lives in Bloomington with his wife Trisha, a short walk from the grave of songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.
The Hoosier School
In the late 19th through the early 20th Century, Indiana produced more best-selling novelists than any state except for New York. Indiana has been fertile ground for writers of all genres. One theme running through much of this work from James Whitcomb Riley to Gene Porter Stratton to Ernie Pyle to Scott Russell Sanders, has been the importance of place in everyday life. My own work over the years has been produced in small rented spaces around Bloomington. I respect this creative legacy and it continues to inspire me. I love to write. I mean that literally. I've filled up lots of notebooks in longhand.
The Hoosier School was a term used to describe this community of authors, poets, and songwriters who used life in Indiana as a lens to observe the American experience. They felt an awareness of the natural world and the integrity of the small town was essential to the quality of our lives going forward. This proved to be the antithesis of the consumer-driven, hyper-urbanized environment that has gradually come to dominate our culture. Books like Sister Carrie and The Magnificent Ambersons and songs like On The Banks Of The Wabash Far Away spoke of these looming dangers over a century ago, forecasting some inconvenient truths about the path we have taken since. I realize as an American, I often benefit from traveling this path. I also mistrust the map I follow. This tension forms a knot I pick at constantly.
The past tends to reward my curiosity because it is so often open to discovery and interpretation. Much of my writing is narrative, a constant theme being small but defining personal experiences. The songs, audio essays, and film scripts each average between three and four minutes. Apparently, this is a good time signature for me. One of the first storytellers to inspire me was Charles Schultz, who created the Peanuts comic strip. His dailies were always contained in four frames: see it, tell it, end it.
Across the range of what I do, I try to reflect the quiet presence of my old Pendleton barn coat: well-stitched, simple lines, big pockets. I hope in exploring tomroznowski.net, you'll be encouraged to slip on some of my work and carry it back home with you.
A Well Traveled Porch - "A lyrical grasp of Americana both wry and sensitive."
"Roznowski's work reads like fine fiction."
"Roznowski's tunes compare favorably with John Prine and Tom T. Hall."
Voice Beyond The Hill - "Roznowski is first and foremost a storyteller almost equal to the Carvers of this world."
"This troubadour can sure sing a tale or two."
Music Row Magazine
"This is a modern masterpiece."
This Place In Time - "This is one of those CDs that just puts a smile on your face from the first note. I can't recommend it highly enough."