Tom acknowledges his upbringing as an important thread in his character and artistry today. Both of his parents were K- 8 teachers, his mom a music teacher at a parochial school and his dad, Joe, a special education teacher. He describes his mom as a genuine caregiver and lover of music, and his father as a jack-of-all-trades. "My dad was (and still is) a woodworker and has had his hands in the dirt. He makes mandolins and clocks. He loves to work in the garden and with the farm animals - and both my parents play music." Wurth's mom plays the piano and his dad plays the guitar. He said he was home from school on a "snow day," and his father was sitting in the kitchen strumming the guitar. The inquisitive six-tear-old peaked around the corner with a wanting in his eyes. His dad taught him a chord and said "now, go practice." Wurth did practice for about twenty minutes, then returned to the kitchen to tell his dad he was ready to learn more. "I think he meant for me to be at it at least a week," said Tom. "It was then I knew," he said, "that music was my constant."
Wurth made his first public appearance, at the Iowa State Fair, at age ten. In high school, he wrote his first song, joined the choir, and made it to the All-State competition. Upon his graduation, Wurth knew exactly where he was headed. He headed for Belmont University in Nashville to begin a career in the music business.
Just 24 hours after his orientation at Belmont, though, Tom was in a car crash that nearly left him paralyzed. "I remember the nurse telling me not to move or I would be paralyzed. I spent the first three days in a striker bed and they would come in and rotate me like a chicken on a rotisserie." He spent more than two months in bed, and feels it was time well spent- with Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, and God. Gill and Wariner got him through it, he said, listening to their music every day, over and over again.
As for God's role? "When I came to the realization that either I was going to walk or be in a wheelchair," he said, "I had a long talk with God. I told God that if he let me walk again, I would chase this (music) thing until I could walk no more." He walked out of the hospital, and his pact with God led him to his divine will.
Wurth moved to Nashville, attended Belmont University (in the same Music Business Program with Brad Paisley), and within four years not only landed two publishing deals, he earned a Grammy nomination.
He was working at Aaron Brown Publishing, making tapes and working in the mailroom when he was afforded an opportunity that was entirely unexpected. Aaron Brown showed up at a 'writer's night' where Wurth was performing, and the next day, Brown asked if he would cut some demos for the publishing company, and then asked him to lay a few things down for a "Lullaby project." Wurth recorded the lead vocals on a children's project entitled "Love Songs and Lullabies for Daddy's Little Dreamer." The album was recorded in a week, and at 21 years of age, Tom Wurth's talents were recognize with a Grammy nomination for "Best Musical Album for Children," in the company of Linda Ronstadt, Tom Chapin, and John McCutcheon.
"It was the first time the Grammy Awards show was held in Madison Square Garden," said Wurth. I remember sitting in the audience with the other nominees in the category. Allison Krauss was sitting right behind me. I was thinking 'I'm the only guy here nominated making $6 an hour in a mailroom.'"
Wurth soon inked a publishing deal with Belden Publishing, and honed his song-writing skills such that he received an offer from a major publishing company, BMG Music Publishing. He has since worked with a long list of accomplished songwriters. Of his song-writing, Tom Wurth says "When it comes to song, I like to follow the 'Harlan Howard rule of thumb,' which says 'Write what you know about, then lie a little.' "
In 2002, Wurth scored two major cuts - "If the Road Runs Out," which he co-wrote with David Frasier and Bill LUther, and was recorded by Ty Herndon; and "I Can't Kick My Country," written with Bart Butler and Ken Mellons, and recored by Mellons for a NASCAR compilation CD called "Inside Traxx."
Wurth next performed as the "other half" of a country duo, initially called The Chase, and later known as Mitchell and Wurth. The duo worked together for three years and were the opening act for a number of headlining acts, including Rascal Flatts, Marty Stuart, Lonestar, and others.
Today, Wurth is concentrating on a solo career, and has played casinos, festivals, and some of the largest dance halls in the country.
He has shared the stage with John Ford Coley, Ronnie Milsap, and Vince Gill, among others. He says Gill gave him the best advice he's received -"Decide whether you want to be an artist or an act." He has decided to become an artist, and his artistry has been described as "old new school," incorporating the mood of the blues, the staples of classical music, and the structure of a traditional country song.
Wurth is a stylish vocalist, a warm-voiced singer with full-bodied tone who delivers the "music of our time." He gives fans his word that "what you hear on stage is what you'll hear on the record." He has released an album - "Tom Wurth" , and says, "If you want to know who I am, just listen to the record."
He is the boy next door, your best bud, and every girl's dream- a contemporary country singer with traditional appeal.
Wurth will be on the Main Stage at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds at 7:30 p.m., Friday the 13th - your lucky day.