He played his first show in Baltimore at age 15. In 1980, he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, and soon built his own home in the nearby mountain town of Schuyler. Proutt was a member of the house band on Peter Jones’ syndicated live radio show, “Tell Us a Tale.” Along with Jan Smith, Jeff Vogelgesang, and Gerald Soriano, he played the music behind the story-telling of Jen Hoffman and Peter Jones. He also co-wrote the theme music to the show with Vogelgesang and Smith.
After Emily Gary contributed vocals to Proutt’s brilliant 2003 release, “Farm Jazz,” the two gradually became close friends and co-writers, soon releasing their debut, “Pancake Mamma.” Gravity Lounge owner, Bill Baldwin, championed Proutt’s songwriting, and Tom and Emily became featured artists at the venue.
In 2004, Proutt started working with publisher Amy Gary, who introduced him to some of the unpublished poems of “Goodnight Moon” author, Margaret Wise Brown. That process has reached fruition with the release of “Goodnight Songs,” a cd of songs derived from those poems. Accompanying the cd is an imaginatively-illustrated book of the poems. All of which makes for quite a package. “Reading through the unpublished works is like opening up a time capsule,” Proutt says. “Many of the works were just a few lines but the sentiment was true enough to flood a three-minute piece, and ultimately broad enough to inspire the wonderful illustrations that grace each individual song page. I’m just proud to be a part of such a great project. I love how the book and the cd fit together. ‘Goodnight Songs’ is just a beautiful work of art.”
These days, Tom divides his time writing songs, playing music with Tom & Emily, and performing with the group, Keith Morris and The Crooked Numbers. Proutt signed on with Morris in 2007, playing guitar on Morris’s “Songs From Candyapolis,” and is featured in full force on Morris’ new release, “Love Wounds and Mars,” which received a rave review in No Depression Magazine. When the band plays live, they often include versions of songs written by Proutt, as well as songs co-written by Proutt and Morris. “Tom’s guitar work is exquisite,” Morris says. “He brings a songwriter’s sensibility to the guitar, and adds integral riffs and signature touches to the songs. He’s also a top-shelf songwriter on his own.”
Proutt lives on the Rockfish river only two miles from the original home of television’s Walton Family. He enjoys spending his nights near a wood stove, playing music with his talented and accomplished children, Tommy and Emily.