Tom Evanchuck
and The Old Money:
The TVD Interview

If you were to hear Tom Evanchuck and the Old Money, you’d be convinced they were a group of good ol’ boys from the South. They’ve got the Americana vibe that recalls nights spent on someone’s front porch with a couple guitars and some moonshine. The truth is, Evanchuck and his bandmates aren’t old boys at all. They’re not even from the South.

The foursome—consisting of Tom Evanchuck (vocals/guitar), Patrick Jenkins (lead guitar), Chris Verdi (bass), and Anthony Evanchuck (drums)—are all twenty-something Ohioans with an intense respect for the men such as Neil Young and Otis Redding who inspired them.

I had the opportunity to meet up with the band at Sabby’s Bagel Cafe in Mentor and talk a little bit about their roots and where they’re going as a band.

Tom Evanchuck has been playing since he was five years old. After hearing his cousin’s, drummer Anthony Evanchuck’s, dad play at his parents’ wedding, and playing air guitar mesmorized in front of his uncle, Evanchuck was given a guitar for Christmas, and he’s been playing ever since.

His music tastes went through phases, even dabbling in punk rock in his high school years, but then Evanchuck returned to his Americana roots and played acoustically for a while to nab gigs. It was around this time that he met Patrick Jenkins. They played together sometimes, talked about music often, bouncing ideas off of each other, until Jenkins moved to DC.

The Evanchucks were devastated to see Jenkins go, but Tom had a plan to get him back. “My cousin and I started playing electric stuff, just as a two-piece, but we wrote it all so you could grow on it,” said Tom. The Evanchucks got Jenkins on board to record the album, alongside a good friend who played keys, and the album was recorded.

When that friend couldn’t do the band full-time, Tom had a plan. “So then we called Chris [Verdi] and swindled him into playing, originally keys, but then when he got here, the day he got home we switched him to bass, and like the trooper he is, he said okay. Pat moved on to lead guitar, and that’s how we became the four-piece you see now.”

The band agrees that it was good to wait to put together the band, taking time to play with each other and cultivate a sound. “We kind of eat, breathe, and what’s the other one? Oh, yeah. Sleep. We eat, breathe and sleep this,” Jenkins said.

The band also spends a good deal of time talking about music. Bassist Verdi chimed in, “I think that’s one of the bigger things that drives us; everyone’s always pushing for that new music.” Jenkins adds, “It’s kind of this weird thing where Tom will write a traditional song, it just sounds like a standard, it sounds like it could have been on American Folk anthology, and we’re pushing to make it a little more modern and relatable. There’s definitely an air of old soul here.”

Drummer Anthony Evanchuck said the band forces him to diversify his playing. “I was deeply rooted in classic rock, I probably still am, but when I got into drums it was because I just wanted to hit things. So I got into the grunge and all the heavy metal. So now, when I got into this, I have to calm down considerably on my playing to go with the songwriting and go with the band. It makes a diverse sound, with them calming me down, or me going down to match the sound they’re making.”

If you’re looking for Americana that blends blues and folk music in a perfect balance, look no further than Tom Evanchuck & the Old Money. T. Evanchuck’s voice alone will draw you in and mesmorize you. He’s got the grit of old country, laced with the blues of a man who’s worked long hours building the country in which we live. Jenkins’ guitar lines are awe-inspiring, while Verdi’s bass lines and A. Evanchuck’s drumming will keep your toe tappin’. If you’ve got the opportunity to see these guys play, take it.

Tonight they play Wilbert’s in Cleveland before embarking on a tour that will take them around the South for three weeks. They’re hoping to capture some of the Americana scene and bring it back to Cleveland. So tonight, come on out, buy them a drink, and send them off right. Be sure to pick up an album or a t-shirt, too.

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