Textures and Colors

Music and Healing, Uncategorized


There is very little, in my world at least, quite so cool as having my five-year-old son easily recognize songs from local artists or somewhat obscure indie groups when he hears them. And, if he knows the song well enough, he will belt it out with much gusto. I love it and can’t get enough of it. Whether it’s hearing him loudly sing Project 86‘s Illuminate or The Daredevil Christopher Wright‘s The Animal of Choice, it is awesome.

Obviously, I spend a lot of time listening to such music, finding ways to connect others to it, and just thinking about it. Those are the surface elements of this blog. But there is a deeper current running here. What started as a way to promote locally-rooted music has evolved into an ongoing discussion about how music makes us feel. To me, that is one of the most valuable parts of music. It has a strange,  but ultimately  very human, way of connecting us with an artist’s emotions and help us to more fully feel our own. This is a really good thing. Healthy, in fact. So, we talk about this stuff all the time in my house. It’s part of the fabric of the Hudgins household culture.

A few weeks ago, Joshua had his scrap paper out and was working on his own art. Now, I am clearly as biased as any other father would be when appreciating what his child creates. But, I was pretty blown away by what Joshua was putting together. He was using multi-colored paint blotter thingies and “randomly” placing various colors throughout his paper canvas. At first glance, I thought it was just pretty; a fun combination of colors. And then I asked him what he was painting.

His reply: “Your website.” Of course, I was enamored by the fact that he would even think to do that. But, I was also curious, so I asked him to describe what he meant. He couldn’t really do that, which was awesome in and of itself. The best I could gather is that all the colors represented different ways of feeling. I was amazed at how my little boy was able to grasp so well what Tomme Suab is… that it’s not just about music, but about the textures and colors of the music and how those things come together to stimulate emotional response. I was both proud of my little boy and humbled at the same time.

His painting is at the top of this post. Take it in. Enjoy. And, consider how the colors and textures of your favorite musicians have impacted your emotional world.

A Renewed Focus

Music and Healing

TS Collage

Welcome to the new, improved, and refocused Tomme Suab. I launched this site in October 2013 (after about a year of mental and emotional incubation) with a desire to promote music from the Chippewa Valley, because there is just so many talented songwriters and musicians in this region. Since then, I’ve written about great artists like Adelyn Rose, Savannah Smith, We Are the Willows, and many others. I’ve promoted local events and concerts and advocated for the Confluence Project. I fully intend on continuing this kind of emphasis. However, I have also been experiencing a refining of vision, if you will.

The primary element of that refining process has involved me coming to an understanding of how the emotive aspects of songs are what move me the most about those songs. As I’ve shared my thoughts about various artists and their art, I have gotten consistent feedback from those artists about how I’ve been able to capture the emotional elements of their music. For me, it’s about feeling the artists’ pain and joy.

My focus on the emotionality of music makes sense, in light of my own experience over the last three years. In 2011, I enrolled in “Wounded” at Valleybrook Church, a program that helps participants heal from emotional wounds caused by abuse and/or neglect. The impact of this program on my life has been profound. I feel things deeply now, whereas, for most of my life, I used to numb difficult emotions like sadness and grief. I typically wouldn’t really allow myself to feel joy or happiness. In these last few years, I have learned how to really feel my emotions and allow myself to feel whatever I need to feel. I have learned to really “see” and “hear” people and connect with what they are feeling as well. I could go on and on about the healing and freedom I have experienced because of Wounded. But, that’s another discussion for another context.

So, all this has lead me to a place in which I realize that I really want to connect people with the emotionality of music, especially, but not exclusively, the music of the Chippewa Valley. I believe that there is healing in music, both for the artist and for the listener. There is healing in self-expression; there is healing in listening and connecting to others’ self-expression. I don’t fully understand those dynamics, but I know they are real and they can be life-changing.

Tomme Suab will still promote local events and advocate for the arts. We will still discuss album releases and such. However, we will mostly center on that healing element in music: the emotive quality of a song or album. My hope is that you will connect with this emotive quality and walk away with a new or fuller appreciation of not only this aspect of music, but how it affects you emotionally. I want you to feel what you need to feel, to be more aware of your own emotions, to experience sorely-needed emotional healing.

So, enjoy the site! Use the site to hear about artists you may not know or album releases. But, if you choose to go deeper, I invite you to do so. And, if you have any questions about this renewed focus or emotional healing, please reach out to me at ed@tommesuab.com.


An Introduction

General Thoughts


Three summers ago, my family and I had the opportunity to hear Adelyn Rose play a set at Volume One’s  Sounds Like Summer series at Phoenix Park. That experience, quite literally, changed my life. I was immediately taken in by the emotional intensity of their music. They were unique. They were special. I became a fan instantly.

As great as that performance was, it wasn’t their music, instrumentation, presentation, or lyrical content that profoundly affected me, even though I enjoyed all of those things immensely. No, it was that, for the first time in my time in Eau Claire, I caught a glimpse of the incredible musical talent that resides here. Adelyn Rose’s performance that warm summer day served as a gateway for me, a gateway that would open the way for me to experience other bands like Kalispell, The Daredevil Christopher Wright, Bon Iver, and Field Report.

In 2012, I began writing posts for the Visit Eau Claire blog (www.visiteauclaireblog.com) and Volume One (www.volumeone.org). Much of what I have written has been focused on local musicians or musical events. As I have done these pieces and connected with local musicians, my passion for the music scene here in the Chippewa Valley has only increased… dramatically.

This site, Tomme Suab, is an outgrowth of that passion. I want you to hear what I hear. I want you to be surprised by the unpredictability of The Daredevil Christopher Wright’s album, “The


Nature of Things”. I want you to hear the intense, sometimes brooding quality of Addie Strei’s vocals in Adelyn Rose’s work. I want you to feel the warmth and appreciate the craftsmanship of Kalispell’s “Westbound” (which has become one of my favorite albums of all time). There is so much talent here and my heart is for gifted local artists to have the opportunity to be heard by as large an audience as possible.

So, here we are. In upcoming posts, I intend to share about upcoming events and record releases, as well as other local music-oriented subjects. Occasionally, I’ll throw in something about a non-local band or record, but the main emphasis here will be on the wealth of talent that lives right here.