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Nashville Sessions: Tomi Lunsford

Tomi Lunsford at EastSide Manor Studios in Nashville, Tenn.
Tomi Lunsford at EastSide Manor Studios in Nashville, Tenn.

For every country star and insurgent new sensation, Nashville boasts a dozen musicians who've perfected their art over many years. Tomi Lunsford is one such exceptional, undersung talent. She hails from a prestigious family — her great-uncle was the revered folklorist and songwriter Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and her father, fiddler Jim Lunsford, played with the likes of Roy Acuff and Bob Wills. Tomi herself began singing professionally as a teen with Jim and her harmonizing sisters. Jim's sudden passing in 1978 derailed the family band, however, and Tomi began her lifelong practice of learning about all kinds of music, studying to be a voice teacher and pursuing a sound that goes beyond what anyone among her kin had done.

Staying connected to her musical peers by singing background parts on albums by friends like David Olney, Lunsford has forged a union among country, folk and jazz. Her soprano is a truly otherworldly instrument, complementing a warm and witty style of storytelling. Joining us for a session at EastSide Manor, Lunsford speaks about the various streams of sound that combine within her own; her pleasure in working with the esteemed producer Robin Eaton and a top-notch band, including the legendary guitarist Mac Gayden; and how tending her garden helps her stay patient and creative.

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