Read Between the Strings
Tom Boyer's contemporary fingerstyle approach is soaked in the fluid country and jazz idioms mastered by Chet Atkins, and finds further inspiration in the nimble grace of Doyle Dykes' arrangements. Tom first picked up the guitar at 13, seduced initially by the twangy reverb of the Ventures and Duane Eddy, and later by the electric energy of all things rock 'n' roll. His first validation came in the form of winning a junior high school talent contest, which led to a series of high school rock 'n' roll bands. When he was 17, Tom's brother turned him on to a Chet Atkins album. 'I was stunned by what he could do on a guitar and became a fan for life,' Boyer recalls. 'I bought every album he came out with and drowned myself in his style.' At 19, Tom met inventive fingerstylist (and fellow Chet Atkins Appreciation Society member/performer) D.R. Auten, who became Tom's mentor. Auten taught him the rhythmic nuances and licks that informed the Chet style. Tom has credited Auten as 'The greatest teacher I ever had,' and subsequently went on to perform with Auten at various social functions. Tom continued to pursue fingerstyle guitar passionately in the ensuing years, absorbing the influences of such standout fretboard stylists as Jerry Reed, Charlie Byrd, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Larry Carlton, George Benson and virtually anyone who played like Chet. In 1996, Auten invited Tom to the annual CAAS convention in Nashville, where Auten was performing. At the time, Auten was working for Taylor Guitars, and introduced Tom to a Taylor 514-C (mahogany back and sides, cedar top, cutaway). The guitar's warmth, clarity and tonal balance were a fingerstylist's dream, and left Tom awestruck. He immediately bought one and hasn't touched his other guitars since. In addition to standard tuning, Tom enjoys composing in the alternate voicings of DADGAD and Drop D. He ís currently working on two new albums to be released in 2004. Tom has also played Contemporary Christian fingerstyle guitar at his church for the past 10 years.