Tales from bandmates and a lifelong fan
PETE CRONIN: My memories of Thom Enright and his big talent and bigger heart go way back to when I was a young teenager growing up in East Greenwich. We were all music kids very tuned into the vibrant local music scene and Enright was always a key guy in the best bands. He was a few years older and he had the chops, the right equipment, and the hair. That was enough for me. Enright was a rock star. I vividly recall his blistering guitar work on a version of Procol Harum’s “Whiskey Train” from those days. Several years later, I stopped by my buddy Dick Reed’s house and Enright and his bass were crowded into keyboardist Dick’s bedroom with Klem on sax. “Hey Pete, let’s play that song you just wrote,” says Dick. I was really nervous to play and sing in front of Enright. We played the song (it sounded great!) and the “rock star” gave me this big goofy grin and said, “Hey man, cool song.” That’s Thom, and that was one of the first times I realized that big talent and big egos don’t always go hand-in-hand. Hey Thom, thanks for that and thanks for all the great music.
JOHN LaMOIA: I’ve known “Sleepy” for years. Many tales. Here’s a couple.
While working with the Groove Masters, years ago, the late Paul Murphy couldn’t make a gig. The bass player at the time, Chris Vachon (of Roomful of Blues ), suggested Thom. We all knew him, had worked with him in some capacity or another, he was part of the family, nothing to think about. The fact that Thom killed the guitar playing really came as no surprise. What floored me was when Thom and Chris casually swapped instruments. He’s a kickass bassist. We funked the place up that night!
I arrived late to a fundraiser where a host of RI’s best contributed their time and talent. Enright and his band were on stage. I was a bit distracted from the music at first, being welcomed by many old friends. I kept one ear on the music. Then the guitar solo. Literally stopped in my tracks. The tone, the execution, the ideas, the story. It was world class.
Eric Clapton once said during the “Clapton is God” days that he wasn’t the best guitar player in the world. It was some kid in Texas, on some Saturday night, in some club, that had it all right at that moment. At that moment Thom was the best guitar player in the world.
DICKIE REED: From a sideman’s perspective, it’s always great fun to watch people become instant Enright fans upon hearing him play for the first time. There’s the jaded heard-it-all bar-tender letting whole pints of beer overflow a pitcher because an Enright solo stopped all the clocks on the planet; or the hardened bouncer dancing with — instead of pummeling — a drunken buffoon because Thom’s meanest guitar licks can actually ease anger and sadness (for as long as the song lasts, anyway).
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