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John Tams

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British guitarist and singer John Tams is, according to Mojo magazine, "one of the unsung gods of folk." Although his debut solo album, Unity, wasn't released until 2000, Tams has made his presence felt among the British folk community for more than three decades. A member of Ashley Hutching's Albion Band from 1976 until 1987, he continued his musical assault as leader of the political British folk-rock band Home Service and pit director of the National Theater. Launching a record label, No Masters Co-operative, with producer Jim Boyes in the early '90s, he worked with several folk artists, including Lal Waterson. Music has provided only one outlet for Tams' creativity. A highly skilled actor and theatrical producer, he served as an associate director of the Crucible Theater and has been a regular producer of dramas for Radio 4. In addition to appearing in a lead role on the popular TV show Sharpe, he composed and performed the show's soundtrack. Born and raised in a Northern England pub, Tams spent many childhood hours listening to jam sessions in the room below his bedroom. His grandfathers further strengthened his love of music: one played concertina and mouth organ while the other played trumpet and violin and conducted a brass band. Although he played trumpet in a brass band at the age of 11, he found his natural musical voice after switching to the guitar. ~ Craig Harris

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16 February 1949 in Derbyshire, England

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s, '00s