Tom Moran, 43, had a difficult time growing up in Brooklyn with vice and disappointment constantly coloring his childhood. He eventually succumbed and started drinking at a fairly early age – a decision that would come to haunt but eventually inspire him as an adult.
The life-long Brooklyn resident knew then that his life was headed in the wrong direction as his addictions threatened to consume him. Sooner or later, something had to give, so he chose to put down his drink and pick up his guitar to start a better life.
Now, 18 years later, Moran is completely sober and preparing for the June 20 release of his first full-length record entitled “Starting Over.”
“I worked very hard on this album,” he confided, “and it’s all about life with addiction, hard times and confronting reality.”
Moran, a Canarsie resident, is now a physical education teacher in the New York City public school system, a job he finds rewarding and inspiring. And despite all the tough times in his life, including an alcoholic father and crumbling personal relationships, the focus of his music is about emerging from hardship a stronger person.
“I think I’m able to communicate these things that are negative, but then cast them in a positive light,” he said. “Ultimately, I want to do something positive and there’s definitely hope in my music.”
“Starting Over” is a collection of nine very personal songs with a new country/rock sound and almost bluesy undertones. His influences include John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, among others.
Each song seems to highlight a different aspect or period of time in Moran’s life with compelling lyrics and foot-tapping beats. Tracks of note include “Help Me Baby,” “I Would Drink,” “Small Record Deal” and the title track, “Starting Over,” which are all tracks about turning one’s life around. But as difficult as it was to write the music, even tougher choices await as he tries to sell his work.
As a very spiritual and positive person, Moran recently took a chance on his music career and took out a loan of $15,000. With independent label, Cashbox Records, he used the money to record, co-produce and distribute his work – something Moran said was a difficult decision that’s even tougher to execute.
“You can do a great album – it could be Mozart – but you have to be able to get it to the right people,” he said.
Moran has performed at myriad venues like New York’s CBGB’s and Brooklyn’s own Vox Pop (1022 Cortelyou Road) though he said playing shows is tough and time consuming.
“My intent is not to play just bars, but venues like Starbucks where the people are,” he said.
The next step for Moran is promotion. He just had a short video made with the iconic Brooklyn scenery of Coney Island as the backdrop to advertise “Starting Over” in preparation for its June 20 release.
Moran said that a music video is also in the works for the album’s title track and he hopes to include his 8-year-old son Jonathan in the experience.
Though the next big step for Moran isn’t perfectly clear, he said he was excited to see “what doors a higher power will open for me.” And in a few weeks he will head to South Carolina to begin recording his next album aptly entitled “Ain’t Gonna Give Up.”
“Definitely, the best decision of my life is not picking up that drink each and every day,” he said.
“I want people to know that I’m just Tom from Brooklyn and I’m just trying to make my music.”
Tom Moran will be playing at 169 Bar, 169 E. Broadway in Manhattan (F train to E. Broadway), on June 21 at 7 p.m. For more info call 169 Bar at 212-473-8866.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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