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.

The first new piece I’m releasing is a 20 minute ambient guitar soundscape titled “Witters Lake”. It’s intended for relaxation, meditation, yoga, chill-out backdrop mood-setting. I’d like to consider it perhaps along similar lines as some of Brian Eno’s long-form ambient recordings. It was recorded & mixed in August of 2013 in Wautoma WI in a lakeside cabin.

The second piece is a NEW song about time. It’s an acoustic finger-style guitar tune I wrote & recorded this past week, on a Saturday morning. It’s called “Pause”. It’s the most direct artistic statement I can think of… writing & recording something and making it available inside a week… rather than waiting years to release it. 😉 This is the first time I’ve done it. I hope you’ll preview both these works and consider purchasing them as digital downloads. As always, thank you for your support.

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 (w/guest Diane Christiansen) 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”.

Brand New Compact Disc Edition of “More Songs About Time”

A new slim gatefold CD version of the 2019 release “More Songs About Time” with a 12-page booklet has arrived. There are a few limited copies of the initial purple digipak edition with the 24-page booklet left. All other album releases are now available in physical format via BANDCAMP. For digital versions of back catalog albums for the time being please contact the artist directly. Thank you for supporting this independent artist.

Full Band Show @ Martyrs, Autumn Beatles @ OTS, Tz solo at SPACE, Cafe Carpe w/Peter Mulvey


Tommi Zender w Band Live shot by Vin Reed

Martyrs (3855 N Lincoln Ave) FULL BAND SHOW Thursday November 14, 8pm. Tommi Zender & Los Troublemakers come out of hiding to play Martyr’s for the first time. Alton Smith (keyboards), Chris Siebold (guitars), John Abbey (bass) & Jim Barclay (drums). We play first on the bill. Also performing is Silver Suns a James Taylor Tribute group lead by Colby Bessera, with Chris Siebold, Paul Mutzabaugh, Larry Kohut, Vance O & more. This will be a great night of music! Get your tickets


SPACE, Evanston. Wednesday, December 18th, 8pm Tommi Zender SOLO show, opening for Patrick Park. Reserved table and seated tickets available NOW.

Cafe Carpe, Fort Atkinson WI. Saturday December 21st, 8pm @ Tommi will be a guest for the Lamplighter Sessions, hosted by the great Peter Mulvey. These sessions are interactive for the musicians, who often accompany each other on the fly. Also featured this evening are Nickel & Rose. Get advance tickets here!


Hyatt Centric, Mag Mile (633 N Saint Clair st) Tommi plays 2 sets of covers, Friday December 6th, 9-11pm for no cover. Comfortable seating, excellent drinks & food available. Also the great Gabe Michael will join Tommi for this one!

Early warning, Sunday January 5th, 8pm @ Montrose Saloon… Abbey, Dawson, Smith & Zender w/Dan Holohan. Link to the event here.

Me & The Boys 2

Here is a solo performance of “Seen Too Much, Forgotten Too Little” from “More Songs About Time” at the Friendly Tap in Berwyn from October 13, 2019



Wine Goddess Show, Friendly Tap in Berwyn, Martyr’s Full Band Show, SPACE solo show in December

Tz Wine Goddess 9.21.2019

The Wine Goddess show in Evanston was so much fun. Thanks to everyone who helped make it a SOLD OUT show, and to Tom Ryan and Carey Anne Farrell for sitting in with me for a few songs. The set lists:

SET ONE:  I Wanna Be Your Lover (Prince)/I Believe When I Fall in Love (Stevie Wonder)/On and On (Stephen Bishop)/Echo Chambers in the Hall of Mirror, Your Time is More Important, Seen Too Much Forgotten Too Little, Temporary Spill (Tommi Zender)/Let’s Go, All Mixed Up (Ric Ocasek/The Cars)/As Time Goes By/Red Vines (Aimee Mann, featuring Carey Anne Farrell, with Tom Ryan)/September Girls (Big Star, w/Carey Anne & Tom)

SET TWO:  Home at Last, World Already Knows 12-string instrumental mash-up (Tz)/Triad (David Crosby)/Getting Personal, Learn to Be Alone, Strangers & Passersby (Tz)/Cello Song (Nick Drake)/No Good For Your Health, Best Waste of My Time, Something to Hide (Tz)/Dead End Street (The Kinks, w/Tom & Carey Anne)/Saturday In The Park (Chicago w/Tom & Carey Anne)

Encores: Cinnamon Apple Cider (Tz-Soft version)/Better At Life (Tz-unreleased)

Upcoming Dates:

Hyatt Centric, Mag Mile (633 N Saint Clair st) Happy Hour Thursday October 3rd, 5-7pm Tommi plays 2 sets of covers, first Thursday of almost every month, for no cover. Decent quality human jukebox, comfy seating, drinks food available.

Friendly Tap in Berwyn (6731 Roosevelt Rd) with Victoria Storm. Sunday October 13th, 7:30pm. Victoria will play a set, Tommi will play a set, and then they will play together for a bit. First ever show in Berwyn for Tommi… come on out!

Martyrs (3855 N Lincoln Ave) FULL BAND SHOW Thursday November 14, 8pm. Tommi Zender & Los Troublemakers come out of hiding to play Martyr’s for the first time. Alton Smith (keyboards), Chris Siebold (guitars), John Abbey (bass) & Jim Barclay (drums). Tz plays first on the bill…also performing is Silver Suns a James Taylor Tribute group lead by Colby Bessera, with Chris Siebold, Paul Mutzabaugh, Vance O & more. This will be a great night of music!

Tommi Zender w Band Live shot by Vin Reed

Early warning…Tz solo show at SPACE in Evanston opening for Patrick Park. Wednesday December 18th. Reserved seat tickets available NOW.

Special Teaching stuff… Sunday October 20, 2-3:30pm Fretboard Geography Workshop at Old Town School of Folk Music. Hosted by Tommi.

Autumn Beatles Songbag Friday November 8th, 7:30-9pm. Hosted by Tommi (often with a guest like Gabe Michael or Tom Ryan!) Advance sign up recommended.

THE KINKS KLASS final session starts Wed October 30th (final performance will be at 909 Armitage, Sunday December 15th, 5pm)

Here is Tommi & Alton from the Stevie Wonder tribute concert at Old Town School of Folk Music in Summer 2019.


Esthetic Lens Interview, Roundtable Interview & Wine Goddess Show, September 21st; Limited tickets.

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Photo by Vin Reed

Tommi is featured in Esthetic Lens this month. 5 questions, no waiting!

Tommi was recently interviewed for Evanston Roundtable by Gregg Shapiro!

Tickets are onsale now for Tommi Zender live @ Wine Goddess in Evanston, Saturday September 21st, 8pm. An intimate solo (mostly) concert in a great listening venue with fantastic wine & other spirits, snacks. Capacity is limited–get your tickets now!

Also in August:

Thursday August 8th 9-11pm @ Hyatt Centric  (at Erie & St. Clair, east of Michigan Ave)

Sunday August 18th, 1-4pm, Tommi is special guest of Phil Angotti for the Beatles Brunch at Reclaimed Bar (3655 North Western Avenue)

Thursday August 22nd, 7-9pm @ Wishbone North (3300 N Lincoln Ave) This month Tommi will feature & perform duets/trios with many student-musicians, including Elizabeth Silk, Matthew Hayes, Ken Jones, Terry Levy, Garrison Lohr, Adrian Walters, Kevin Demeret, Connie Lee, Shane Tritsch, Doug Ross, Matt Stone & more. This event will be in the larger room, because hey, the air-conditioning is fabulous!

Late edit/note: Tickets for Wine Goddess on Sept 21st are almost GONE. If you want to go, grab them. Also… if you are connected with me on social media (specifically FACEBOOK) please know I’ve not “defriended” you, I am merely taking a break. See you in mid-september and enjoy the last of summer/early fall.



Summer 2019 Shows & New Record!

Tommi Zender Live Promo shot by Vin Reed

Live photos by Vin Reed

Thanks to my amazing band and everyone who came to the record release show at SPACE in Evanston IL for “More Songs About Time”. If you haven’t purchased your copy of the record yet, you can do that here at the Bandcamp link.

Here is a record review from Jeff Elbel at Illinois Entertainer:

IE review MSAT larger

The band is kicking off the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Square Roots Festival on Friday July 12th @ 5pm on the south stage (Montrose/Lincoln Ave by Welles Park). Last full band show of the summer… please join us. Admission is suggested donation & gets you into the festival. Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven are also performing the same evening.

Tommi Zender w Band Live shot by Vin Reed

Other summer music happenings… Wishbone Residency Thursday July 18th 7-9pm. For July the special guest is Dag Juhlin (of Expo ’76, Sunshine Boys, and Poi Dog Pondering).

Tz WB w Dag 7.18.19

Sunday July 21st @ 2PM- Glenview Public Library WOODSTOCK 50. Tommi  Zender & Alton Smith perform duo arrangements of classic songs by Woodstock performers.


Friday July 26th @ 7:30pm – SUMMERTIME BEATLES songbag at Old Town School of Folk Music, Lincoln Square. Tommi hosts with special guest Gabe Michael. These events often fill to capacity, so advance sign-up is recommended HERE. Participants play &/or sing Beatles songs in a facilitated space with music-stands, and take home a packet of songs. Always a total blast.

Sunday July 28th @ 2pm – FRETBOARD GEOGRAPHY workshop also at Old Town School of Folk Music, Lincoln Square. Pre-register HERE.

Thursday’s August 1st and August 8th 9-11pm HYATT CENTRIC (on St Clair @ Erie, north of the river, off the mag mile) Tz does two solo sets playing mostly covers.

Thursday August 22nd – Wishbone Residency (guests TBA!!!)

Far advance notice: Tz @ Wine Goddess, Saturday Sept 21st, 8pm. More details TBA…


New Album Available; Record Release @ SPACE in Evanston Sun June 2nd, 7pm


It’s with great pleasure I announce that my new record “More Songs About Time” is officially available. Tickets are also available for the full band record release show at SPACE in Evanston, Sunday June 2nd, 7pm. (click the link for tickets) One night only! To get the record in LP, CD and/or digital formats please visit my BANDCAMP page. It will also be available in person at the SPACE release show, just come to the show, visit the fine folks at the Hey Man Records merch table, and I’ll be signing copies there!

The new record is also available in Chicagoland in physical formats at: Squeezebox Books & Music in Evanston, Laurie’s Planet of Sound in Lincoln Square, Different Strummer Music Store at Old Town School Lincoln Square, and Rattleback Records in Andersonville, and directly from the artist (hey, that’s me!)

To all who pre-ordered the record… THANK YOU!!! If you encounter any problem getting the digital download, or bonus material please contact me and I will fix the issue!

MSAT vinyl layout

Also… here is a Hey Man Records interview discussing the new album with fellow artist Peter Zeldow! Peace, and I hope you enjoy the record, and come to the show!

Album Release Update & Spring Shows

MSAT_Vinyl Recor-Mock-Up_RS

Hi everyone,

I want to thank all of you who have pre-ordered my new album “More Songs About Time” via the INDIEGOGO campaign. The target release date is Friday May 3rd. The test pressings for the vinyl are being re-done because of a technical error, but rest assured the music sounds great! I will begin to schedule the guitar/music lesson perks with people who purchased them very soon.

If you haven’t opted to get the album yet… good news! The link to pre-order will remain active until the album release show @ SPACE in Evanston, Sunday June 2nd, 7pm. Tickets are on sale now! The INDIGOGO page remains the only way to get the BONUS CONTENT, and to pre-order the limited vinyl and compact disc editions of the record.



Here is the final master version of “Learn To Be Alone” to preview. I played all the instruments except for the great textural lap-steel guitar which was done by the very talented Christine Bougie of the Canadian pop group Bahamas. (pictured here below with the engineer/co-producer of “More Songs About Time” Justin James)

justin & CB

Also… here is another album preview… a “lyric video” for the song “Echo Chambers in The Hall of Mirror” viewable on youtube. I hope you enjoy these songs. Thanks for your patience with the full arrival of the album (in whatever format you desire).

Other upcoming shows I am playing:

Sunday April 7th, 2-3pm Motown Duo Show @ Glenview Public Library, Tommi Zender & keyboardist Alton Smith play interpretations (and re-interpretations) of select Motown classics. Free with pr-registration at GPL link.

Saturday April 13, 1:30pm – Music of Donovan (Record Store Day show) at Squeezebox in Evanston. Tommi Zender & John San Juan will play a set of choice Donovan songs.


Sunday April 14, 7-9pm Wishbone Residency Show: Bon Voyage to Natalie Galey. One set of music of Joni Mitchell; and one set of some of our favorites we like to play. Here is a sample track of us doing Joni’s “Just Like This Train“. Natalie is one of my favorite musicians to play with. I’ve known her since she was a teenager who studied guitar with me. She is relocating to Colorado this May, so this is the last show together for a long while. Come help me send her off in style!

Springtime Beatles Social hosted by Tommi Zender @ Old Town School of Folk Music is Friday May 10th 7:30-9pm