Music is in his Bones

June 2018

I was fortunate enough to attend the Rock and Roll Induction Ceremony in Cleveland in April and shortly after arriving I went to dinner at a restaurant and passed a table of three fellows that looked strangely familiar to me. You see, a little over a year ago, Paul Shaffer did a benefit show in support of the Community Auditorium and that’s where I met Tom “Bones” Malone along with Frank David Greene and Aaron Heick (all accomplished horn players). They were in Cleveland to play at the Rock Hall Event where Shaffer is the music director. Tom (aka, Bones) is confident, tall and distinguished looking and has played with everyone and on everything in music including the cult classic Blues Brothers movie. When our eyes met we both had that confused ‘I know you from somewhere’ look and once we established the connection of the Auditorium gig – he excitedly jumped from his chair to tell me he was coming to Thunder Bay to play with the Blues Brotherhood, opening for Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLaughlin at this year’s Thunder Bay Blues Festival.
Tom and I connected again a few weeks ago to talk about his upcoming trip to Thunder Bay.

Q. Tell me what we can expect from your Blues Fest performance

A. Paul Miller who plays "Jake" in The Blues Brotherhood (BBH) friended me on Facebook. He asked me if I might be interested in guesting with his band.
I immediately hit it off with these guys from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. They were so dedicated to playing the music of the Blues Brothers. "Jake"and "Elwood" in this band are actually better than the originals. Anyone who likes the Blues Brothers will love them. We got a great response last time we were in Thunder Bay.

Q. Tell me about your history with Thunder Bay

A. The first time I went to Thunder Bay was with Professor Louie & The Crowmatix. We did a concert of music by The Band at the Thunder Bay Blues Festival. I went on the road with The Band in the summer of 1976. I was in their movie “The Last Waltz.” Four out of the five members of the group were from Toronto and Southern Ontario. Professor Louie produced several albums by The Band after “The Last Waltz.” Next time I came to Thunder Bay to perform as guest artist with the Thunder Bay Symphony. We sold out the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium. My third trip to Thunder Bay was to attend Paul Shaffer’s father’s funeral. Bernie Shaffer was a prominent attorney in Thunder Bay who practiced until he was 86. My fourth trip to Thunder Bay was with The Blues Brotherhood at the Thunder Bay Blues Festival. And my fifth trip was to play with Paul Shaffer and The World’s Most Dangerous Band at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.

I have made lots of good friends over the years in Thunder Bay. Bob Halvorsen, Susan Lester & Phil Hordy from the board of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival. Phil Hordy is a childhood friend of Paul Shaffer. Through Phil I met Ken Boshcoff, Ken came to see Paul Shaffer’s band at the casino in Niagara Falls last summer.

Judging by Tom’s enthusiasm for the city – I’m certain his performance will be a memorable highlight at this year’s show. It’s probably safe to say “he’s on a mission from God”.

About Bones
Trombonist, multi-instrumentalist, arranger & producer.

Best known for his work with The Blues Brothers, David Letterman Show and Saturday Night Live.

Tom has performed, recorded and/or arranged for Ray Charles, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Beck, Aretha Franklin, Frank Zappa, Stuff, The Temptations, The Supremes, Sting, Elton John, Yes, James Taylor, The Band, Joe Cocker, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ringo Starr, John Mayer, Blues Traveler, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Liza Minelli, Cab Calloway, Billy Joel, Lou Reed, Baja Men, Meatloaf, Joss Stone, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Teddy Pendergrass, Glen Campbell, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and many others.

Tom “Bones” Malone will be playing with The Blues Brotherhood Saturday, July 7 at the Thunder Bay Blues Festival

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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