At just 8 years old, Tommy Ragen is like any other kid in his 3rd grade class, laughing and playing and surfing yards away from his La Jolla home. But something grabbed ahold of Tommy when he was just 5-years old, after attending a Taylor Swift concert with his family. Little Tommy watched performer Cody Lovaas play some songs and talked to him after his set. Cody made an impression on Tommy with his kindness and soon Tommy’s dad asked if Cody would be open to jamming with Tommy. Lovaas agreed, and soon the spark for Little Tommy’s passion for music started to grow.
As Tommy learned chords on his guitar, Lovaas introduced the Ragen family to his friend/guitarist Pedro Talarico, a talented musician who began to coach Tommy. Soon the two became friends and were practicing 5-days a week. At age 6, Tommy and two of his friends wrote an original song and with that flicker of excitement, he knew this was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Since that time, Tommy and his family have invited countless musicians into their home to lend their advice, skills and wisdom to the little boy who loves making music. In a twist of fate, Taylor Swift’s tour had ended and her violin player, Caitlin Evanson, ended up staying in the guesthouse of the Ragen family. Over the next three months, little Tommy would awaken Caitlin nearly every morning so he could play her his new songs. Ever so sweetly, Caitlin never said no. She would listen, pick up her violin and start playing along with the little boy she grew to love. "I can't believe that at just 8 years-old Tommy can just jam with me,” says Caitlin. “His songs have developed so much since those early days, there are a few songs I would love to play with him onstage someday!"
Another musical influence in Tommy’s world is artist Caroline Corn. Caroline is a brilliant musician that helped Tommy with his songwriting skills and the two ended up co-writing many songs together. Her ability to ask Tommy questions and facilitate his songs led to songs like "What about me," a song about a rough day that Tommy had at school and "You can't kill our dreams," a song Tommy came up with after a heated discussion with his dad. "I love writing with Caroline,” Tommy says. “She makes writing fun and just being friends makes everything so awesome!"
The next stroke of good fortune came when local musical legend, Tommy Andrews (TA) stopped by the house to see little Tommy play. The two Tommy’s bonded fast and they soon became like a little brother looking up to a big brother. The Tommy's would jam, TA pushing little Tommy to explore lead guitar riffs, and to always take risks with his music. TA also took time to make sure he Introduced the younger Tommy to the classics like Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones and the foundation of Rock N Roll: The Blues.
To say Tommy Ragen has an old soul is an understatement. He writes about subject matter that seems way beyond his years, but he writes what he feels from his heart. This has allowed Tommy to connect with older musicians and people both young and old. To see many of the young kids who have watched his shows be inspired to start playing music themselves has been a joy for Tommy. Besides making music, Tommy also loves to act and do musical theatre and recently was cast as Augustus Gloop in a local acting troop rendition of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.Recently Tommy has started a band with TA called PB&Jam. The group has been playing shows around San Diego county since summer 2016, earning a place on the bill at the 91X show in Oceanside, Ca. in October. With Tommy Ragen on guitar and vocals, the band is made up of Matt Alcanterra (Guitar), Shawn Gardner (Drums) and Tommy Andrews on Bass. Look for upcoming PB&Jam shows.