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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Tom Gribbin

Bill DeYoung



It’s been nearly 40 years since Tom Gribbin chose music as a career – or maybe it chose him.

These days, the semi-annual performances by Tom Gribbin & The Saltwater Cowboys, the band he put together back in the early 1980s, are packed parties, celebrations of a guy and a band and a style of music that recalls a simpler and more joyous time in St. Pete.

Most of the Saltwater Cowboys players have been there since the beginning. Although they all have other bands, and other lives, they’ll put it all to the side when it’s time to make music with Tom again. “They’re not reunion shows,” Gribbin said Wednesday on The Catalyst Sessions. “We continue them like we’re doing ‘em every day. Because we don’t really rehearse that much; it’s like we just did it yesterday. I love those guys.”

Pre-music, Gribbin was a practicing attorney. Then the band got successful, and they played England’s Wembley Stadium on tour. They cut a pair of well-received albums.

He worked for many years as a concert producer and promoter, and was one of the founders of the Coconuts Comedy Clubs franchise. And he’s the longtime vice president of Big3 Entertainment, the local company owned and operated by Bill Edwards.

Our discussion ranged far and wide, and included lots of laughs and shared memories (yours truly goes back more than four happy decades with Mr. G). Always, though, the subject came back to music, and its galvanizing, life-altering powers, and how it’s held Tom Gribbin in its sway since his earliest days in St. Petersburg.

Ephraim Sykes

Today on The Catalyst Sessions: Broadway star, dancer, singer, actor, Tony Award nominee – and St. Pete native – Ephraim Sykes. It’s our 100th show!

Streaming weekdays at 7 p.m. on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube page.



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