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Tommy WellsTommy Wells
June 18, 1951 - Sept. 24, 2013

An iconic Nashville session drummer, Tommy Wells, died Tuesday night, September 24, from a brain aneurysm; he was 62. Working on a recording project in Indiana, Wells was found in his hotel room — assumed to have suffered from a heart attack or stroke, dying in sleep.

Like many young drummers, Tommy started out banging on pots and pans — then a WWII Rolling Bomber drumset. At age 11, he received his first 'modern day' drumset was a Christmas present.

By the time Wells was in high school, he was working professionally with pianist/arranger Bill Kennaugh, Bill Doggett, and saxophonist Candy Johnson.

In 1969, Tommy attended Berklee College of Music in Boston to study with Fred Buda and Alan Dawson. In December of that same year, Tommy returned to Detroit to work as a studio musician at GM Recording, Pampa, United, Golden World, The Funk Factory and Motown, as well as doing recording sessions at studios in L.A., Minneapolis, Miami, New York, Orlando, and Nashville.

Throughout his tenue in Detroit, Tommy performed and recorded with the rock group Dust and rock/R&B horn band, First Gear, featuring Larnelle Harris.

In January 1977, Tommy made the move to Nashville, TN to tour and record with Gene Cotton and American Ace, followed by rock group RPM. What followed was a 35-year career as a full-time studio drummer / session musician.

Tommy Wells performed and/or recorded with the likes of Ricky Van Shelton, Foster and Lloyd, Michael Martin Murphy, Ray Stevens, Don McLean, Gene Cotton, RPM, Jo-el Sonnier, Holly Dunn, The Statler Brothers, Roy Clark, Jonathon Edwards, Jimmy Hall, Charlie Daniels, Poter Wagoner, Lynn Anderson, Charley Pride, Dan Seals, B.J. Thomas, Riders in the Sky and Kathy Mattea, and numerous others.

Besides working with Jimmy Hall and The Prisoners of Love for the past 30 years, Wells was more recently involved with recording and playing with award winning Western Swing artist, Carolyn Martin.

Tommy's televised appearances include Nashville Now, Music City Tonight, Midnight Special, Carson, Dinah Shore, and was regularly seen on Prime Time Country. Besides other TV credits, Wells can be heard on a long list of commercial jingles from the past three decades.

As an educator, Tommy, along with Nashville legend, Jerry Kroon, taught a class entitled Studio Drummer's Workshop, with such alumni as Billy Mason, Rich Redmond and Chris Brown.

Tommy Wells is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and son Dylan; funeral services will be private.


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