Tom Waits and Don Neely!

I’ve always been a big fan of Tom Waits, so it’s no surprise that I’d find one of his songs included a saw. Waits is a great singer and songwriter. He’s been recording and writing since the early 1970’s. His music is a sort of combination of jazz and blues, but his songs always have a sound that’s uniquely his own.

This song, “November,” from the album “The Black Rider” is a sort of lament to winter. The last lines are “Go away you rainsnout/Go away,/ blow your brains out.” It’s  a perfect sentiment for those of us who dislike the long, dark, rainy days.

The saw player on this record is Don Neely, a Bay Area musician, who also is the band leader of the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra. His band plays songs from the 20’s and 30’s, songs that are nothing like the tunes Waits does, but this simply shows Don Neely’s versatility when it comes to playing the saw. I recently met him at a party and he assured me that he’s still playing the saw in his act. You can hear him in the beginning of Waits’ recording and then watch him play “Whispering” in the second video.



Rowena Southard, your blog hostess, is a musical saw enthusiast who lives in California. She loves all kinds of music and has a special fondness for unusual instruments.