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#LocalMusician: Thomas Jude Music

Sharing a Passion for Music

Thomas Jude is a local music teacher whose passion for music has been lifelong. “I grew up playing in the band at Burch, but also playing bass and guitar with my family in church,” he says. Later, he received Bachelor degrees in music and education at Glenville State University in Central West Virginia, before coming back to the area. Since then, he’s worked as a band director and music teacher at Burch PK-8, Lenore K-8, and Tug Valley High School. As much as he enjoys his role in his students’ lives, he isn’t satisfied with just teaching music. That’s how Thomas Jude Music came to be.

“Around 2016, I took a few years away from playing while I started teaching,” he says. “It didn’t last, though. Around 2016 I got started again, when I got a call from Rick Brookens, who had just arrived in Williamson to be the pastor at Williamson Wesleyan Church.” Rick wanted to start a brass quintet, which Thomas became a part of, given his own passion for playing trumpet. “I helped him recruit a few additional members, and we played community events for several years.”

From there, his status as a local musician continued to grow. “After that, I landed a gig with Adam Williamson’s Mystery Meat Blues Band out of Prestonsburg, Kentucky and then formed a jazz combo, The Jazzalachians, with a group of educators and friends from around Williamson.” The Jazzalachians played shows throughout 2019, and returned to playing in late 2020 after taking a short break at the beginning of the pandemic.

Thomas’s “next big break,” was recording some trumpet on songs for Senora May, a Kentucky native, on her second album, All of My Love. “I was fortunate to get the opportunity to play a few shows with her and her band,” He says. “It was an incredible experience.” He’d also been attending local open mic nights at Starter’s. While there, he met a variety of great musicians, who inspired him to improve on his vocals and guitar playing, as well as working on writing music.

These days, he, Terry Soltesz and Alan Riffle are a part of the country rock band “The Thomas Jude Band.” They perform songs by Thomas and Alan as well as some fan-favorite covers. He describes the band as “his current focus”, and is currently in the process of recording original music. While he’s reluctant to offer a set date, he hopes to have work posted on streaming platforms by mid 2023.

In addition to his work as a musician and a teacher, he also recently received an artist grant from the Tamarack Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts, which he chose to use to host the first ever Highwall Music Festival. The festival occurred in partnership with local business Devil’s Backbone Adventure Resort, who provided the site, and together they were able to bring in 6 bands. He hopes to see this event continue.

To keep up with Thomas Jude Music or to find booking info, check it out on Facebook.

Photos from Thomas Jude Music Facebook page

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