Push Puppets, Workshops, Thank You!

Push Puppets @ SPACE Friday Feb 17. The new band I’ve joined has it’s first practically-in-Chicago show. A powerful live act with great musicians featuring top-shelf pop songwriting by Erich Specht. Sample a variety of songs from the brand new album “Allegory Grey” on BANDCAMP. Joining us on the bill are the wonderful duo of Rachel Drew & Rob Newhouse. As of this writing there are still limited seats left at SPACE here. The new record will be available at on limited edition PURPLE vinyl. I highly recommend attending this show!

Here is a 3 min video of Erich & Tommi playing “Small Doses” by Push Puppets acoustically.

WORKSHOPS Coming up SOON: Tommi Zender Old Town School of Folk Music ONLINE winter workshops. Winter Beatles Songbag Friday Feb 10, 7:30pm. Fretboard Geography workshop Saturday afternoon Feb 11, 2-3:30pm. Advance sign-up is recommended.

Thanks to everyone who came to hear Alton Smith & Friends big Elton John show at the City Winery. (Photo by Kat) Also thanks to folks who braved the bad weather for a Jarvis Square Pottery experimental duo show I did with percussionist Tim Mulvenna. An electric guitar & percussion improvisation from that snowy night, shot by photographer David Sameshima can be found here! The video is about 9 minutes. Some of David’s photos are below!

Early warming warning… Phil Angotti & Tommi Zender duo show @ Sketchbook Brewery, Sunday March 12, 3-5pm, no cover, donation encouraged.

As always I am thankful for your support. My music is available to sample or purchase in physical format via my BANDCAMP page. I hope to see you at the upcoming Push Puppets show, a workshop or future concert! Peace. -Tommi


Quality Music Programming for Early 2023

You thought we were done for the year? Not so fast! Late inning Pravda Records ‘pop-up’ show: Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams @ SPACE 8PM Wed 12/28 filling in for Guided By Voices. Also performing are The Service 7pm & Josh Caterer Trio 9pm Tickets here. All these bands are phenomenal… get out of the house & come hang out to toast the new year early. For more info on Steve Dawson go here.

Push Puppets @ SPACE Friday Feb 17. This is the new band I joined this past October, and the first Chicago area show. Sample some songs, and what critics are saying about the new record “Allegory Grey” at https://www.pushpuppets.net. Reserve a seat at SPACE here. You are going to love this band!

Songs of Elton John @ City Winery Sunday Jan 22, 7pm. Alton Smith, Tommi Zender, Debbie Kaczynski, John Abbey & Peter Manis play Elton classics from 1969-75. Nobody does Elton like Alton! It’s been a few years & we are looking forward to this one. Tickets here.

Tommi Zender & Tim Mulvenna @ Jarvis Pottery Saturday Jan 28, 8pm. Tommi’s long-awaited return to this excellent intimate listening room. Percussionist Tim Mulvenna is a highly intuitive versatile musician who plays with great dexterity & sensitivity. He will accompany Tommi for original songs, covers, and they will play a second set of improvised grooves & soundscapes. This will be magic. $15 suggested donation, doors at 7pm, BYOB.

Tommi Zender Old Town School of Folk Music ONLINE winter workshops. Winter Beatles Songbag Friday Feb 10, 7:30pm. Fretboard Geography workshop Saturday Feb 11, 2-3:30pm. Advance sign-up is recommended.

Early warming warning… Tommi Zender & Phil Angotti duo show @ Sketchbook Brewery, Sunday March 12, 3-5pm

Autumn Shows and Workshops

Phil Angotti & Tommi Zender @ Sketchbook Brewing, Skokie IL Labor Day Weekend

Well I’ve certainly let this place go in the past half year. Let’s catch up! I played a few great shows with Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams, including a road trip to St.Louis opening for The Jayhawks! We started production on my friend Matt Tiegler’s new album (at King Size with John Abbey). I snuck in a great duo show with my old pal Phil Angotti at Sketchbook Brewing (pictured above) and did some drumming with Dan Holohan Band at Ye Ol’ Montrose Salon. And a whole lot more but hey, here’s what’s coming next:

Friday Oct 7 Neil Young Songbag @ Old Town School of Folk Music, 7:30-9 pm IN PERSON, in Lincoln Square. Participants take home a generous packet of songs. Sign up link above.

Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young in concert, circa 1970. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Also at OTS in November… Friday Nov 18, Autumn Beatles Songbag 7:30pm IN PERSON and Saturday Nov 19, ONLINE Fretboard Geography Workshop 1:00-2:30pm The last session of classes for 2022 starts October 24th… advance sign up recommended (Beatles Acoustic, Guitar 4ever, Folk Rock Acoustic, Eclectic Electric Ensemble, and Wilco Acoustic Songbook ONLINE are the classes I’ll offer) www.oldtownschool.org

I joined a new band! The new album by Push Puppets “Allegory Grey” is available as of September 30 via BANDCAMP. Check it out! We’ll be playing the new record and more at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights Friday Oct 14. Limited seated tickets avail here. Don’t miss it!

Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams @ Fitzgeralds Friday Nov 11 Get tickets… you need to hear this wonderful band. Steve Dawson, Alton Smith, Tommi Zender, John Abbey, Larry Brown & Diane Christiansen. Last show for awhile. Jess Robbins (Course) opens.

Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams opening for The Jayhawks, St Louis MO

Sunday October 16 @ Jarvis Square Pottery with Cynthia Marchant (opening set by Heidi Serwer) Tz will be drumming/percussing along with Steve Dawson, John Abbey, & pedal steel by Greg Schultz.

Tommi Zender plays Music of Paul McCartney @ Glenview Public Library, Sunday Nov 13, 2pm FREE with sign-up

Dan Holohan Band Saturday November 19th, HAPPY HOUR show 5:30pm @ Montrose Saloon

New Release ”Let’s Get Lost” Maxi-single on Bandcamp

Hello music lovers… I have new music available for purchase on Bandcamp. The song is called ”Lets Get Lost”. It was improvised mostly in real time in December of 2021, drawing inspiration from some happy places. The song is several minutes in length and I’ve made three extra mixes; one of them is just ”guitars & kalimba”!

There is a video on YouTube featuring many of those happy places. I recommend selecting the HD quality setting! The cover art is a sand sculpture by Janet Moore Schraeder. The recording was mastered by Carl Saff in Chicago. It’s my hope this music will take you on a sonic vacation.

The first Friday of every month Bandcamp pays 100% of sales to artists directly. March 4th (march forth!) is the next one, as well as being my dear mother’s 80th birthday! This music is exclusive to Bandcamp… you won’t find it on other music streaming platforms. I like to encourage patronage of music artists directly in general; Bandcamp is one of the best ways for you to do this.

Other music events & Old Town School classes:

Tz plays with Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams at The Venue in Aurora IL
Saturday March 5th, 8pm, 21+ show, reserved seating
Ticket link = https://www.eventbrite.com/e/steve-dawson-the-lucid-dreams-tickets-239351194867
Tz is featured singer/guitarist for Abbey Road Beatles Tribute @ SPACE in Evanston
Saturday March 12, 8pm   https://www.evanstonspace.com

Jarvis Square Pottery April 9th is CANCELLED. it may be rescheduled at a later date
Tommi’s Old Town School classes for Session 2 start March 1st  IN PERSON!!!
Beatles Acoustic Songbook, Guitar Forever, Folk Rock Acoustic, Eclectic Electric Ensemble and ONLINE classes Saturdays: California Songbook & British Rock
Upcoming OTS ONLINE workshops include Aimee Mann Songbag Fri Mar 18, Spring Beatles Songbag Fri April 8  www.oldtownschool.org

Sketchbook Brewing Co, Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams, Abbey Road @ SPACE

Hello! I have some events in early 2022, some things to see and hear and do.
Tommi Zender solo @ Sketchbook Brewing Co in Skokie
Sunday February 20 3-5pm  4901 Main St847-588-0652
No cover charge, free parking in lots on property & north side of Main st
(link is https://www.sketchbookbrewing.com/all-events)
Tz plays with Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams at The Venue in Aurora IL
Saturday March 5th, 8pm, 21+ show, reserved seating
Ticket link = https://www.eventbrite.com/e/steve-dawson-the-lucid-dreams-tickets-239351194867
Tz is featured singer/guitarist for Abbey Road Beatles Tribute @ SPACE in Evanston
Saturday March 12, 8pm   https://www.evanstonspace.com
Tommi’s Old Town School classes for Session 2 start March 1st  IN PERSON!!!
Beatles Acoustic Songbook, Guitar Forever, Folk Rock Acoustic, Eclectic Electric Ensemble and ONLINE classes Saturdays: California Songbook & British Rock
Upcoming OTS ONLINE workshops include British Rock Songbag Fri Feb 25 , Aimee Mann Songbag Fri Mar 18, Spring Beatles Songbag Fri April 8  www.oldtownschool.org

Early warning: Tommi will do 2 sets at Jarvis Square Pottery in Rogers Pk Sat April

Fall 2021 Musical Things To Enjoy

Hello, it’s me. I’ve been mostly absent from the internet, enjoying music, family, food, frisbee, White Sox, books, some vacation, and well…real life. I have some performances this fall to let you know about, after a long hiatus.

Saturday Oct 2 – Jarvis Square Pottery 1439 W Jarvis (773) 655-7197 The first Saturday monthly residency in a great listening room. I’ll play solo for the first one. Music starts at 8pm, with two 40 min sets. Must be vaccinated & masked indoors BYOB; suggested donation. There will be a nice outdoor area with a speaker to monitor the music as well. (also appearing on Sat Nov 6th with a special guest TBA)

Jarvis Square Pottery Music Room

Thursday Oct 14 – SPACE in Evanston 1245 Chicago Ave. 7:00pm doors. Tz plays a solo set opening for David Singer & The Sweet Science. Hosting the show is comedian Richard Laible, who will help bring this to Smothers Brothers level. Vaccination mandatory as well as mask. Reserved table seating available in this great expanded listening room. Click the SPACE link above for more ticket info.

Friday Nov 12 – Old Town School of Folk Music in Szold Hall Tom Ryan’s record release show with Dan Holohan Band opening. 8pm show vaccination required & masks (unless something changes). This show is going to be great. It’s been rescheduled twice, because it matters. The backing band for both sets includes Steve Dawson, Alton Smith, John Abbey, & Tommi Zender.

Ticket link: https://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2021/04-10-2020-tom-ryan-for-years-album-release/

Tom Ryan

Far off early warning…

Sunday Dec 19 – Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams @ SPACE in Evanston (2 sets) door at 6pm; show at 7pm. This show will sell out–grab tickets soon! The Lucid Dreams are: Steve Dawson, Diane Christiansen, Tommi Zender, Alton Smith, John Abbey & Larry Brown. This is the first indoor listening room celebration of Steve’s newest record “At the Bottom of The Canyon, In The Branches of a Tree”. Read about it here.

Concert Tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/steve-dawson-the-lucid-dreams-tickets-163329158911

Steve Dawson & The Lucid Dreams first ever show @ Fitgeralds

Lastly… I have some fall ONLINE workshops & music gatherings at Old Town School of Folk Music:

Neil Young Songbag – Friday Sept 24th @ 7:30pm

Fretboard Geography Workshop – Saturday Sept 25th @ 1pm

Autumn Beatles Songbag: Happy Birthday John Lennon – Friday Oct 8th @ 7:30pm

Advance registration recommended

Spring Old Town School Classes and…

Hey! It’s been a while since I’ve broadcasted here. Stef Folk and I got married! We had planned to for quite a while. It was also a great way to say “fuck you” to 2020, so we did it right before New Years. Yayyyy, love wins. 😉 I haven’t been on social media so far in 2021 and there are no shows or new recordings to promote. It’s been a year since I last performed (a really fun show with Steve Dawson in Feb 2020 before the PANDAMMIT). I’m still teaching classes at Old Town School of Folk Music online, until it’s safe to be back in the classrooms. You don’t have to be in Chicagoland to take classes, songbags & workshops. Try one! They are fun and a great way to learn, be musical & stay somewhat social while we are navigating toward the post-PANDAMMIT.

The next session starts Tuesday March 2nd. Here is my menu:


Beatles Acoustic (Tues 6:30 – a mix of John, Paul, and George Beatles & solo years)

Guitar Forever (Tues 8pm – a smorgasbord of tunes!)

Folk Rock Acoustic (Wed 6:30 – a fun mix of eras and artists)

British Rock Acoustic (Wed 8pm – 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s!)

Neil Young Acoustic Songbook (Sat 1pm, sideburns not included)

also…some new skills classes:

Creative Scale Practice 1 (Tues 5-6pm)

Creative Scale Practice 2: Chords & Modes (Wed 5-6pm)

Sign up here:  https://www.oldtownschool.org/teachers/Tommi-Zender/

Workshops & Songbags:

Mid-Winter Beatles Songbag – Fri Feb 19, 7:30pm

British Rock Songbag -rescheduled from January! Friday March 19, 7:30pm

Fretboard Geography Workshop – Sunday April 11, 1pm

Springtime Beatles Songbag – Friday April 16, 7:30pm

Old Town School Fall Classes

John Lennon for CW show
All 8 week classes taught online by Tommi; session starts Tuesday Sept 1.
Beatles Acoustic (Tues 6:30 – John Lennon in session 5)
Guitar Forever (Tues 8pm – a smorgasbord of tunes!)
Folk Rock Acoustic (Wed 6:30 – Laurel Canyon)
British Rock Acoustic (Wed 8pm – 60’s, 70’s, and now…80’s!)
Creative Scale Practice 1 & 2 (Tues/Weds 5-6pm)
Workshops & Songbags:
Neil Young Songbag – Friday Sept 25, 7:30pm
John Lennon 80th Birthday Songbag – Friday Oct 9, 7:30pm
Fretboard Geography Workshop – Sunday Oct 11, 2pm

Brand New Tz Music on Bandcamp 5/1/20


I hope this communique finds you sheltering in a happy place safe & healthy. I’m releasing two new music compositions Friday May 1st on Bandcamp. Bandcamp is waiving it’s revenue share to give 100% of the sales to the artists directly, on the first Friday of every month. This applies to back catalog releases AND brand new works. Now is a great time to go shopping to help support independent artists.

I look forward to playing music solo & with cherished musical friends again in real life & time, in a communal performance space as soon as that is safely allowable. Until then… you can find me leading some music classes and special programming at Old Town School of Folk Music online. Click the link for more information. Peace to you & please stay safe everyone.


Tommi Zender & Steve Dawson Feb 8th; Full Band show @ Hey Nonny; Winter Beatles @ OTS.

steve dawson & tz wb 4.2018

Tommi Zender & Steve Dawson – Saturday Feb 8th, 7:30pm @ Chimera Loft (2948 Central St Evanston IL) Ticket link here!


Tommi Zender (full band show) w/The 45 (featuring Len Kasper & his all-star line-up) Sunday Feb 16, 7:30pm Hey Nonny (10 South Vail Ave, Arlington Heights IL) Advanced reserved tickets here. Tommi’s group (Chris Siebold, Alton Smith, John Abbey, & Jim Barclay) and Len Kasper’s group The 45 (Matt Spiegel, Dag Juhlin, Liam Davis, and Gerald Dowd) will rock this great new listening room in Arlington Heights the Sunday evening before Presidents Day. Grab tickets because they’ll go fast!

Vin_Reed_tz_MSAT_ space_handsonheart

WINTER BEATLES songbag at Old Town School is Friday Feb 7th, 7:30-9pm. Register!

If you missed it, Tommi was featured on NPR’s Sound Opinions with “More Songs About Time” selected as one of 2019’s Buried Treasures. You can listen here. Tz’s segment is about 6 minutes in. Jim DeRogatis says MSAT is “a fantastic record”.