Calendar » Get Out

Odd Man Out

Buffalo singer-songwriter searches for folk-rock niche.


Buffalo audiences compare native singer-songwriter Tom Stahl to both Billy Joel and Bob Dylan, but the former truck driver defies classification. "I just fall through the cracks," he laughs. "I don't fit in anywhere. Folkies don't want me, and I don't rock enough for the rockers."

Tonight, Stahl strums his acoustic guitar at a solo show at the Barking Spider, before he heads home to open for Eric Burdon & the Animals next week with his band the Dangerfields.

Tonight's concert also spotlights unplugged versions of songs from next month's King of the World, the group's eighth CD. Over the past 12 years, the quintet has become a folk-festival fixture throughout western New York, where it has warmed up audiences for '60s and '70s nostalgia acts like America, Don McLean, and Paul Revere & the Raiders.

Stahl isn't quite as familiar with artists that broke after 1990, however. Ten years ago, his band opened for Joan Osborne, just as her hit single "One of Us" was soaring up the Top 40 charts. "I didn't stick around to listen to her, because I'm a father and had to go home," he says. "A few days later, I was watching MTV and said, Hey! I just opened for her."

Stahl was even more stunned this past April, when he was named best entertainer in a readers' poll published by a local magazine. "I have a pretty nice following," he says. "But it's weird, because I'm not the best self-promoter. The people in Buffalo apparently love me, but I don't get that much press. I think I'm more surprised at the award than anybody."
Sun., Aug. 20, 9 p.m.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.