Tom started as a professional with his long time friend (more like a brother, really), Terry Smith with their band, originally called Terry and The Tornadoes, then changed in 1965 to The Mustangs.
Tom and Terry’s harmonies have been described over the years as “genetic” because their voices are so tight with each other and during the early 1980’s, their original music captured the attention of the producers at WQYK in Tampa, Florida and The Country Connection Band was formed. At the peak of the urban cowboy craze, The Country Connection Band toured all over central and south Florida and opened concerts for The Oak Ridge Boys, Mel McDaniel, TG Shepherd and John Anderson, among many others. The Country Connection Band endured several lineup changes but settled into their best with Tom, Terry, Greg Foley on lead guitar, his wife, Brianna, on keyboards and vocals and Lou LoCicero on drums. After leaving The Country Connection Band in 1986, Tom formed a blues band in Jacksonville and began performing as Too Blue but, the lure back to writing ballads was too much and he returned to his roots with a move to the mountains of north Georgia where he once again began writing “story songs” and performing with a rock and roll band, Doctor/Doctor.
After a year in south Texas, learning Tejano style guitar, Tom returned to Florida and began working on his first album of music.
His return to Georgia in 2005 produced a collaboration that continues today with his musical partners in “Gnarly Fingers”. The original lineup included Terry Smith, Pat List and Keith Layton and later, Buffalo Joe Stephens on mandolin. Tom, Pat and Keith have now been performing as Gnarly Fingers for eight seasons and the lineup has changed slightly to the current version that has Terry back on bass and Tom on mandolin and banjo. They are frequently joined by fiddler, John Andrews and continue their tradition of performing some slightly eclectic covers (Guy Clark, Butch Hancock) along with more well known versions of songs by The Eagles, The Grateful Dead and Gram Parsons. The Gnarlies, as they’re known to their fans, play all over the mountains of north Georgia and western North Carolina and are known throughout the region as crowd pleasers.
Most recently, Tom has been re-establishing his Florida roots with his relationship with the North Florida Folk Network and his old songwriting/singing partner, Terry Smith. Tom and Terry have begun performing as a duo as “Smith & Edwards”. In August, 2014, they performed their first full show at The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega, Georgia and they have become regulars at The Tusquittee Tavern in Hayesville, North Carolina. You can also find them frequently jamming Bluegrass at Clay’s Corner in Brasstown, North Carolina on Friday nights.