Tommy Anderson

For musician Tommy Anderson, coming home is hard work.

Anderson is returning to visit his hometown of Hammond partially for vacation, partially for work, and partially to show his newlywed wife, Joan, his old stomping grounds.

The trip is hard work because he will have to continue producing his two upcoming albums and do a couple of shows.

"It's a new start at life," Anderson said about his new marriage and his new work pace. A surge of new original songs has prompted Anderson to spend way more time in the music studio, while still trying to perform gigs and run his music store, Tommy Rocks, in Jerome, Arizona.

With all that going on, Anderson found time to visit the Rochester area and perform a Beatles-themed show at Uncle Jon's Bar and Grill on Sunday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

While Anderson grew up in the area, his performance on Sunday will be one of only a handful he’s done in the region since he moved to Arizona in 1992 after graduating from Rochester Community College.

Anderson, who grew up in the 70s, never played guitar or ukulele as a kid, the instruments he is now known for playing. In fact, he didn't believe he could play them.

"There's no way that a farm kid is going to be playing a guitar in a school and I just thought, well I can't play guitar," Anderson said.

What changed his mindset was a quote from Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can or you (think you) can't, you're right."

Anderson realized that nobody was stopping him from playing guitar, so he sold his motorcycle to get his first electric guitar when he was 18 years old.

Up until that point, he believed that he would go on to work on the family farm.

"I've got two sisters and I'm the only son – we had three kids – so you know you're kinda destined to take over the farm," Anderson said.

It was rock 'n roll music of the 60s and 70s that changed his mind and made him want to become a musician and not a farmer.

"There's rarely been a time that such great music came out, that such diverse music came out, as (the) 60s and 70s," Anderson said, 'it was beautiful."

Anderson is now popularly known for covering Beatles music and is even known as "The Beatles Guy," in Arizona. He has started three Beatles groups: Ringo McLennonSon, The Beatless and B3, but is able to "hold down the fort" during his solo Beatles shows.

Tommy Anderson

"Everybody knows every word and every cord to every song," Anderson said about the audiences at his hit Beatles shows. He hopes that the trip down memory lane will turn Uncle John's into a large sing-along.

Anderson will also be featuring one of his favorite instruments, the ukulele, at his show on Sunday. On it he performs his favorite song on his Beatles set, a rendition of "In My Life."

"It's so pretty that it made me, like, tear up on stage, out in the audience people'll be crying," Anderson said. "And hopefully I'll become world-famous just on this arrangement because it is so beautiful."

Anderson started the Jerome Ukulele Orchestra, which gained national attention after being featured on America's Got Talent. His music shop in Jerome, Tommy Rocks, is now the largest ukulele vendor in Arizona, so he refers to Jerome as "Ukulele Heaven."

Anderson is self-taught on all of his instruments, and appears to have a gift. He even goes so far as to call music theory easy.

However, Anderson attributes his skill to practice – specifically 1,000 hours of practice.

"As long as you don't quit, you will become something," he said.

His other key to musical success, play what you love.

"Life is too short to play crappy music," Anderson said.

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Sara was the 2019 summer intern in the Post-Bulletin newsroom. She is a student at the University of Missouri, where she studies journalism. She plans to graduate in 2021.