Bluegrass lovers in northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania are without one of their favorites, as Tom Reeves passed away at his home in Aberdeen, MD on April 8, 2020. He was 86 years of age.
Born Thomas Earl Reeves in 1934, he was a native of Sparta, NC where his father, Kilby, was a well known old time fiddler. Tom’s first cousin and next door neighbor as a child was Del Reeves, who went on to have a very successful run in country music during the 1960s.
Though never a famous touring musician, Tom played his fiddle every chance he got, between a long career working at the Bata Shoe Factory in Belcamp, MD, and a second career in the Harford County Public School system after retiring from the factory.
Reeves was a member of several bluegrass groups in and around Aberdeen, and spent the past ten years with The Barn Owls, who performed every Friday night at Pop’s Place near Havre De Grace. He played an energetic style of bluegrass fiddle, which always brought out the dancers on fiddle tunes.
He also enjoyed the greatest thrill any musician can achieve, that of seeing his son, Tommy, embrace music as well. This third generation of bluegrass pickin’ Reeveses is a member of Bluetrain, where he plays bass and sings lead and harmony vocals. Tommy’s dad was always proud to see his son on stage at venues in their region.
Tommy also tells of his dad taking them all out to see cousin Del at Sunset Park in Chester County, PA, one of the more iconic venues for bluegrass and country artists on the east coast circuit from the 1940s into the mid ’90s. It was designated as a Pennsylvania landmark in 2018 by the state’s Historical & Museum Commission.
Both family and friends mourn the passing of this life long fiddler, family man, and church member.
R.I.P., Tom Reeves.