Tom Breiding has been honing his singing, guitar playing and songwriting talents since the early 1980s, from his hometown of Wheeling W.Va., to his current residence in Pittsburgh, and points in between. One of Western Pennsylvania's most diverse, prolific, and longest-serving entertainers, he's played in working bands for thirty-five years continuously, served on the staff of a major Nashville publishing company, and has released thirteen of his own albums since 1991. Tom has carved a niche as a chronicler of small town America. His songs are poignant and affecting, and he delivers them with total conviction. In Hard Rain, with fellow artist Bill Toms, Breiding has emerged as one Pittsburgh's more colorful guitar players, as well. His busy touring schedule, weekly solo performances in Pittsburgh's Strip District, his role as Bill Toms' sideman, his original projects with his band American Son, and his work with the United Mine Workers, are testimony to the perseverance and commitment that Breiding has long dedicated to his work.
Since the release of "The Unbroken Circle: Songs of the West Virginia Coalfields" in 2008, Tom has performed in hundreds of venues throughout North America and as far away as Italy. Voted Pittsburgh's Best Acoustic Performer of 2000 at citysearch.com, Breiding's performance career took off and he was invited to fill more opening spots than any other artist at Rosebud, once one of Pittsburgh's premier live venues. His diverse original material found favor with audiences of country artists Hal Ketchum and Johnny Paycheck to that of adult contemporary artists Freedy Johnston and Allison Moorer. His extensive experience as a performer includes several sold out shows broadcast to national radio audiences at Jamboree USA in West Virginia, performances in the round and featured writer nights at the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and yearly performances at the beautiful Oglebay Park Amphitheater in Wheeling and Jamboree in the Hills, St. Clairsville, OH, to audiences as large as 80,000. In 2017, Tom had two performances at the 20th annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, OK, birthplace of the American icon. Tom has appeared on countless television and radio programs including "Humanities on the Road" on PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network) which reaches three-million households. Tom's performance of "Steeltowns, Coalfields, and The Unbroken Circle" earned the Pennsylvania Humanities Council a Tele Award. Tom continues to perform regularly in clubs and at festivals throughout the Pittsburgh region, and he tours between the dozens of service trips to Appalachia he coordinates for Wheeling Jesuit University's Appalachian Institute. Tom performs for visiting college students from around the U.S. as part of the programming for these service/learning trips. Tom has also been the full-time guitarist in Bill Toms' band, Hard Rain from Pittsburgh, PA since 2002.
Breiding was a staff writer for Tom Collins at Collins Music Corporation, on Nashville's storied Music Row in 1991. At that time, Tom Collins, a former CMA Producer of the Year, was the largest independent publisher in Country Music and had been responsible for launching the careers of Barbara Mandrell and Ronnie Milsap. This exclusive publishing deal brought Breiding the opportunity to collaborate and form lasting relationships with several hit writers, artists, and publishers while developing his own craft. The resulting catalog of material was purchased by Acuff Rose/Opryland Music in November 1999, and later by Sony/ATV in 2002.
In 2008 Breiding was recruited by Calliope (Pittsburgh's Folk Society) to write songs for "When We Shine," a compilation CD to celebrate Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary. Tom contributed to 8 of its 15 tracks.
Since 2013, Tom has been providing songs to the United Mine Workers of America for specific campaigns and events including the Fairness at Patriot campaign to retain pensions and benefits for retirees, the centennial commemoration of the famed Ludlow Massacre in Colorado, and the Mine Workers inauguration of its officers.
Tom has released thirteen albums under his own name in the past 23 years beginning with his 1992 release Railroad Town. He has also provided guitar or vocal tracks for more than a dozen album projects by other artists including several records with fellow Pittsburgh artist Bill Toms.
His most successful release is The Unbroken Circle: Songs of the West Virginia Coalfields which spent 16 weeks in the top 100 of the Americana charts, reaching as high as #55. The album was endorsed by country music legend Tom T. Hall and Grammy Award winning songwriter Tim O'Brien. It received over three thousand reported spins on American radio stations, made Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide (Dean of American Rock Critics), and received highly favorable reviews from several national publications including New York Times and 'Sing Out Magazine. Songs from this album can still be heard regularly at union rallies sponsored by the UMWA.
Songs from Tom's 2011 release Beauty in Paradise were featured for seven consecutive weeks on Echoes, a syndicated radio program broadcast on more than 500 public radio stations across America.
In 2008, Tom worked with contemporary Pittsburgh artist Rick Malis on When We Shine. The project was funded by a regional asset grant (RAD) to Calliope, Pittsburgh's Folk Society, to celebrate the city's 250th anniversary. Tom and Rick conducted writing seminars with student songwriters and collaborated on all of the album's 15 tracks. When We Shine was produced and engineered by Tom at AmeriSon Studio in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
In 2001, Joe Grushecky chose a Tom Breiding ballad, "A Picture of Him", to be included on his Best of the 'Burgh CD.Railroad Town (1992)
The Next Heartache (1997)
Guitar and Pen (1998)
Happy Hour in the Round Hotel (2000)
American Son (2001)
Two Tone Chevrolet (2004)
Guitar and Pen Volume II (2005)
Time to Roll (2006 AmeriSon Records)
The Unbroken Circle (2007 AmeriSon Records)
Beauty in Paradise (2011 AmeriSon Records)
Fairness at Patriot (2013)
Live at the Leaf and Bean: Bootleg (2014)
River, Rails or Road - Album and Film (2015)