Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 9:00 pm, Fri Feb 24, 2012.
He writes the songs — and sings them, too By Louise Carroll Ledger Correspondent EllwoodCityLedger.com
Tell Tom “T.C.” Davis a story, and it just might become the basis of a song. The tunesmith from Wayne Township doesn’t just play other people’s songs, he composes his own — both melody and lyrics. “Playing music isn’t my hobby; it’s my lifestyle,” Davis said. His songs tell stories not just about his experiences, but stories that people have told him. The songs touch people in different ways.
“Whatever it means to you is what it means,” Davis said. “I don’t tell you what the songs mean. They mean whatever it means to you.”
For the past five years, Davis has been the lead vocalist and plays guitar with The Sparrows, a musical group made up of Ellwood City brothers Corey Gray on bass and Chris Gray on guitar. The group plays his original music that he describes as nothing too electric — a mixture of rock ‘n’ roll and country.
“They take my simple acoustic sounds and the words, the bare bones that I write, and they turn it into a song. It is a great thing. They make it music,” Davis said.
The collective is made up of The Sparrows, The Robbie Joy Band, Katianne Timko and Jordan Keith Robb.
When Davis graduated from high school in 1994, he joined the Marine Corps where he spent four years as a machine gunner. While stationed in North Carolina, he played the drums in a three-piece blues band.
Often, to give the other members or the band a break, he would sing two or three songs behind the drums. “Eventually, I got tired of lugging the drums around. The sets were over, the other guys were walking out the door, and I was still tearing down the drum sets,” Davis said.
At 21, Davis learned to play the guitar when a friend in the band showed him a few chords. From there, he taught himself. He started writing music, but not performing.
In 1998, when he got out of the Marine Corps, he returned home to Ambridge, where he began going to jam nights at Junction Square in New Brighton trying to put a band together.
He formed the band, Rust, popular locally, but a band that never took the next step. Eventually, it fizzled.
“I got deeper into writing and away from performing as I built up a big catalog of my own work,” Davis said.
In 2007, he met the Gray brothers, who had formed the Sparrows.
“I couldn’t believe they were right here and we hadn’t met. The best part is that we get along great,” Davis said.
Davis works at Iron Mountain underground storage in Boyers, Pa., in the communication and video studio.