Music Saturday: Tommy Oddsen

I haven’t done a Music Saturday post for awhile. Some other things came up, can’t imagine what they were but they seemed to demand my attention. Anyway, this week’s artist is Tommy Oddsen.

Tommy Oddsen is my musical alter ego. The name came about in 2019 when I was going to play a gig with one of my best friends with whom I share a Norwegian heritage, and whose name is Evenson. “Even” is a Danish/Norwegian first name (akin to “Evan” in English) and, interestingly, so is “Odd.” So Norwegian families had – and a quick check of Facebook profiles seems to confirm still may have – sons named Even and Odd, and their children would have been “Evensen” and “Oddsen” in the bygone patronymic method of last names.

Rather than bill ourselves as “Evenson and Kephart,” I had the idea of adopting “Oddsen” as my stage name so we’d be “Evenson|Oddsen”. It was supposed to be a tiny joke for a few performances, but this year, as I had lots of time on my hands to actually practice playing guitar and singing for my own enjoyment, I started to think of myself as “Tommy Oddsen.”

So now that I’m finally playing live on Twitch, I’m using that name. In case you’re confused trying to find my channel.

Right now, I’m only playing one evening per week, Thursdays at 6 p.m. Eastern time. I’m on for about two hours, playing almost entirely covers from the 1960s through the 1990s, mostly folk, singer/songwriter tunes, some old country songs, and the very small number of original songs I’ve written. (Hopefully, there will be more of those to share shortly.)

Stop by and listen at https://www.twitch.tv/TommyOddsen.

Songwriting and my alter ego

I wrote some songs when I was in high school and a few in college, then maybe one or two since. I haven’t written a complete song in at least 30 years. Until tonight, when I finally finished a song I’ve been working on for about two months.

I had the initial lyrics written pretty quickly on a warm July evening, but the music was much harder. I bought a new guitar this spring and have been playing it every day (that streak is now 143 days and counting). As they say, “practice makes perfect,” and while my playing is certainly not perfect, it has gotten a lot better and I’ve learned quite a bit about chord progressions and combinations. All of which contributed to the final version of the music for the song that I finished this evening. I’m pretty happy with it.

The song is called “Evening Star,” and it’s the story of a brief romantic encounter along the shore of Lake Michigan. I’ll be recording a demo version of it shortly and will post it here. But I also wanted to mention that I’ll be playing live – on the intarwebs – soon. Days and times will be coming and will be mentioned here as well as on my performing alter ego’s site: TommyOddsen.com.

A few of you saw Tommy play just before COVID chased us out of bars, along with his partner in crime, Ty Evenson. Both Ty and I have Norwegian roots, so when we were trying to come up with a name for our duo, I chose “Oddsen” as my surname because it pairs up nicely with his real last name and we became “Evenson|Oddsen.”

“Odd” is a real Norwegian given name (as is “Even”), so “Oddsen” would be “son of Odd.” My actual Norwegians are Hansens, but I couldn’t pass up the even/odd connection, and now I’ve adopted it as my stage name.

More to come!