Local Folk Hero Dies in Chicago

Last week, singer/songwriter Tom Dundee died in Chicago of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was 59. A lifelong Chicagoan, Dundee was well known and well liked by the city’s folk community of which he had been an integral part since the 1970s. The ’70s “folk boom” launched the careers of John Prine, Steve Goodman, and Bonnie Koloc but Dundee never enjoyed that breakout moment that makes careers. He was a talented songwriter and performer who made a name for himself with the song, A Delicate Balance, and continued to play steadily througout Chicago. He also hosted “Somebody Else’s Troubles Sundays” at Lilly’s.

I didn’t know Tom Dundee, but I received an E-mail about his accident while he was still in the hospital. I came in on the tail of a long forward that had passed through the hands of many members of Chicago’s folk community and by their words, it is clear that Dundee was respected and loved and took on an important role protecting and promoting the legacy of folk music. Usually, I find folk music news from press releases or news sources. Word of Tom Dundee’s death came from a series of listener E-mails – each one more insistant.

Is there someone in your local community who is always there, ready to lend a hand or offer welcome advice? Don’t take him or her for granted, take every chance to say, “thank you,” and add your special gifts to the world of folk.

Tom Dundee will be honored with a memorial concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music on May 14. Bonnie Koloc, Corky Siegel, Michael Johnson and many others are scheduled to perform.

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