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Welcome to One Toke Tom!

Here are some stories my family and friends are sick of hearing, having heard them over and over for years. I believe my wife, Jan, can repeat them word for word. The depth and radius of her famous eye-roll always lets me know how many times she has heard the story and if I am telling the short or the long version. That’s how I know. The eye-roll. So to save my wife’s eyesight, I’ve put together this website where I can tell these stories without Jan having to listen to them one more time. As the weeks come and go, I look forward to telling them to you and hope they give you a laugh, help you shed a tear, or otherwise somehow enrich your life by seeing and hearing about the ups and downs of my own. There have been a bunch of both.

Over the years, having written stories for newspapers and magazines plus a bunch of stories that have ended up as songs. That is probably why so many of my friends have encouraged me to write a book. But books don’t have moving pictures, and once it’s finished, it’s finished. I needed something more dynamic, that could change over time and could allow me to develop a personal relationship with my readers.

I guess storytelling is in my DNA. My father was the best storyteller I’ve ever known. Maybe that’s how I came by my love of stories. Dad taught world history in high school, and his class was always the one people tried to get into. I never understood it until I had him for class myself and saw how he could turn the history of Mesopotamia into a fascinating story everyone would like to hear, even high school students.

Storytelling is probably what got me turned on to folk music. They were stories, set to music. How could I not love it. Two of my favorite mediums, tied together with a guitar string. Most people will know me by my last name or at least the phrase that put my singing partner and me on the map. Brewer and Shipley and One Toke Over The Line.

But there is more to Tom than One Toke Over The Line. While I can’t leave that out, there are oh so many other stories to tell. Stories about other musicians, stories about adventures I have had. And stories about the people and places I have come to love. 

It was my son, Marc, who finally convinced me to start putting them where others might enjoy them. Being a marketing genius, he asked me what my brand pillars are. Brand pillars? It took awhile before I got that one. Besides family and friends, what is most sacred to me? That was easy.

  • “People Love Each Other”
  • “Adventure May Hurt, But Monotony Will Kill You”
  • “Don’t Be Afraid”

Don’t allow yourself to be afraid to fail or try something you have never done before. That is a sure way to miss out on the joys life brings.

Some of my stories, as you can see, have already been written or produced and appear here. But there are many more in the hopper. A lot more. It is my intention to post as often as I can a story for your consideration. Some will have video. Some just pictures. Some may be songs and probably some only words. And I have a ton of video just waiting to jump off of my hard drives. While I’m not looking for another job, this is a labor of love. Telling stories. I hope you enjoy them…Tom.

15 Responses

  1. Richard
    | Reply

    You have known so many other great storytellers. Your father must have been a dandy.

    • Tom
      | Reply

      Glad you like it Richard. This is my retirement job. No money but I love doing it. Peace Brother…Tom

  2. Ron
    | Reply

    Hey Tom, looking forward to seeing the stories here for sure.

    Tried to sign in to the ‘ join my personal mailing list ‘ but got error cURL 28.
    No problem, I’ll try again later.

    Good effort here, carry on!

  3. Rob Bowe
    | Reply

    Love story telling old friend…We had a few tales or two together. Losing stringers of of fish on the Fasconade, Fishs stories on the Ozark Fisherman. Getting an error message on the email subscribe link.

    • Tom
      | Reply

      I was just looking at the video we did with Kenny Light on the Gasconade. Those were days, weren’t they? Get your ass down here. We need to do it again.

      Anyone you can pass this along to would be great. Right now it’s mostly my Facebook friends and anything that can move it to other folks would be great.

      Peace brother…Tom

  4. Jeanne Kay Collins
    | Reply

    Nothing better than a good story! Happy to save Jan from exercising her eyeballs too much! Love you both!

  5. Terry A Henke
    | Reply

    I am SO glad to have this opportunity to hear all your great stories. I promise, no eye rolling here!!!!! Thank you!!

  6. Jody
    | Reply

    Yep, Marc has a genius idea. This is gonna be good! Looking forward to the stories ahead (even if i’ve already heard some). Love you.🙄lol

  7. Seth Watterson
    | Reply

    Your story about your dad brought back memories, I agree that I also took away the storytelling in his class. It also brought back a memory of your sister, my first girlfriend (in my mind). You have had a good life and I am sure I will enjoy your stories.

    • Tom
      | Reply

      Thanks Seth. I get to Bedford whenever we play in Kent and have gotten to know the lady that bought our old house on Washington St. It brings back a lot of great memories of my family and friends. We we’re lucky to have grown up in such a community. ThanksKS for reaching out…Tom

  8. Andrew Careaga
    | Reply

    One of the greatest storytellers I know is Tom Shipley. Glad to see you on this platform, Tom. Tell it like it is, or like it was, or like you remember, or all of the above.

  9. Andrew MacPherson
    | Reply

    Tom; My Name Is Andrew MacPherson (drewmac518@gmail.com. Im trying to find the names of two individuals who I met in the service who said they knew you back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. They were a musical two man group that mirrored your music. They where called “Distant Glover” Do you have any memory of them. Please let me know if you do. Thank you in advance.

  10. Chellene Wood
    | Reply

    Wow!! Your tune, “One Toke Over the Line” just popped into my head this morning & I followed the path here to your website?!! So nice to know you are still going strong. Would love to hear what inspired One Toke!! But better yet, I wonder why the tune popped into my head?! There must be a cosmic reason somewhere in the universe! 🙂

  11. Dick Mindemann
    | Reply

    Thanks for the opportunity to give you some positive feedback. Back in the day B&S were singing my song, so to speak. Tarkio Road was a masterpiece, as good as any of the other folkies’ albums of the time. That includes such musical Mount Rushmore types as Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, or Dylan himself. I’m listening to it now as I type. I’ve been a singer in band for decades; Long enough to know how hard it is to get those seamless harmonies you guys seemed to do so effortlessly. At your best, you guys were (are) equally adept at melody and lyric. That’s hard to do. I’m very aware that some songs on Tarkio mean more today than they ever did. So, thanks for the music and the wisdom, that precious and ever diminishing commodity.
    If you’re curious, or can’t sleep, I’ve got over 100 original songs on YouTube. type in the key word “Mindemann”. You might even be able to detect some B&S influence.

  12. Patrick
    | Reply

    Hey Tom,
    Pat Shanahan from the Poor.
    So glad to know you are still kickin. What about Mike?

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