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Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009

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iTunes Review

Tommy Keene emerged in the early ‘80s as an obvious counterpoint to R.E.M.’s mysterious jangle. Where Michael Stipe mumbled and alluded to questions unanswered, Bethesda, Maryland’s Tommy Keene came lunging forth with pop songs that offered crisp and clear melodies, explosive harmonies and guitars that would not be denied. This is a great compilation that manages to capture nearly all of Keene’s best moments (there are more!). “Back to Zero Now,” “Back Again,” “Places That Are Gone,” “My Mother Looked Like Marilyn Monroe,” “Run Now” and “Nothing Can Change You” were the stunning hits that never were. A killer cover of Lou Reed’s “Kill Your Sons” is the surprise attack coming from a man who sounds so well mannered. The later tunes show no let-up. “A Secret Life of Stories” and “Tomorrow’s Gone Tonight” belong next to the older material. Whether or not Keene ever receives the recognition he deserves remains to be seen, but there's no reason his music has to be a secret.

Customer Reviews

A Welcome Retrospective from Places That Are Gone

If you lived in the DC/MD/VA area during the mid 1980's, chances are you heard and saw Tommy Keene. WHFS adopted our Bethesda treasure as the golden boy of alternative radio and his live shows and early albums were highly memorable. Tommy was all about straight-forward rock and roll and his infectious spirit and gift for melody made him one of the best local acts. He had a voice like no one else and a backing band that never failed to get you dancing in place. Tommy eventually left DC but the memories of those early days lingered on. Now comes a CD set that takes you back to those early days and traces a truly modest but amazing career in music. As Tommy has aged, so has his sense of melody and instrumentation. He also still knows how to make the most of that amazing voice. "Back to Zero Now" will take you back to the 9:30 on F Street, Penguin Feather, Kemp Mill and the Wax Museum--and the days when New Wave ruled! "Places That Are Gone" now packs more power as most of the places where Keene honed his craft and promoted his early works hve truly become memories. Tommy's a musician's musician--he's refined his edge and his craft and is still a great song writer. If you're a fan of 80's New Wave, great song writing and rocking talent, get this CD set.

Back to Cat's Cradle

Hearing Tommy Keene again takes me back to a humid summer night in 1985(?) in Chapel Hill. Cat's Cradle was rocking like never before with Tommy Keene on stage. Back in the day when beer came in big plastic cups and bars were full of smoke. I can still hear Tommy's riffs echoing accross the lawn of Guilford College in the spring, pouring from the open windows of the unairconditioned dorm rooms and bouncing off the brick walls while shirtless dudes tossed a football or frisbee. This is the soundtrack of college in the 1980's for me. Thank you for putting it out there for a new generation to discover and an old generation to remember.


Born: June 30, 1958 in Bethesda, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Hailing from Bethesda, Maryland, Tommy Keene is a guitarist and singer/songwriter who plays and writes melodic guitar-based pop/rock. As a child, Keene played classical piano before picking up guitar and drums. He spent his teenage years drumming in a rock trio called Blue Steel, whose original guitar player, Mike Lofgren, was the younger brother of Nils Lofgren. Consequently, Keene's first notable gig was when Blue Steel opened for Lofgren's band Grin. In 1977, while attending the University of...
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Top Albums and Songs by Tommy Keene

Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009, Tommy Keene
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