About Tom

Downloadable word document: here

Tom Jolin plays traditional American music, mixing vocals with the hammered dulcimer, banjo, button accordion, harmonica and more. He has recorded on eight albums.

For almost 5 decades, he is still doing what Celebrate Gettysburg Magazine said of him: "The Gift..... bringing happiness to people through music”

He has been a solo performer since 1978, performing a mix of traditional Americana, old timey and civil war tunes. His solo performances are loaded with humor… sometimes intentionally.

He is also an instrument builder, specializing in the hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, and bowed psaltery. His instruments are heard on his albums.

He was the Arts for a Lifetime Speaker for the Adams County Arts Council. Tom was also solo performer for the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Millennium Lecture, which honored Pulitzer Prize winner, John Updike. The Adams County Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice named him as the 2013 Life Time Peace Keeper recipient.

He performs for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. He is a sought after artist in residence by Pennsylvania schools, having done over 80 artist in residence programs.

He was a founding member of The West Orrtanna String Band, a six-member ensemble specializing in old timey string band music from Southern Appalachia. The band was active from 1972 through 1987 and recorded two albums on Revonah Records as well as several short historic folk music segments for National Public Radio. They performed for a variety of venues and traveled from New York to Virginia.

From 1987 to 1998 he performed with the Orrtanna Mountain Steamers, a three-piece ensemble that played a more eclectic style of music reflecting Tom’s new interest in the hammer dulcimer and button accordion. They produced two recordings. The music from these two groups was archived in a 3 CD set called Traditional Music from Orrtanna, with funding provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowments for the Arts, and the Adams County Arts Council. Copies reside with Folkways Smithsonian, the Pennsylvania State Library, the William Penn Museum, and the Adams County Historical Society.

From 1998 to 2009 he performed with Catharine Roth in a duet called ORRTANNA. These two musicians had played together since 1974. Orrtanna made one album.

Tom and Slim Harrison, The Barnstormers, have played together since 1980. They perform traditional American music and offer dance calling. They play for a wide variety of events including for Vice President Al Gore, the Vijandi Estonia Folk Music Festival, Bethlehem Musikfest and the Smithsonian Institute. They cut one album.

They are frequently joined by the award winning RockCandy Cloggers, adding dazzling footwork to The Barnstormers performances. The Barnstormers and RockCandy Cloggers have performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Rudolstadt Germany Folk Festival and the Moelln Germany Folk Festival. In 2015, Rock was named Maryland Master Artist of the year by the Maryland Council on the Arts.

Tom and his wife Marianne, raised five children and reside in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.


1978 – Present. Solo performer specializing in traditional Americana, old timey, and Civil War era music.
1994 – Present. Rostered artist for Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, performing for school audiences throughout Pennsylvania and serving extended periods as a visiting artist in residence for more than 70 residencies; leading students in the building of musical instruments, traditional dance, folksong writing, musical instruction.
1980 – Present. The Barnstormers with Slim Harrison, traditional duet.
2005 – Present. The Barnstormers and RockCandy Cloggers
1999 – 2009 Orrtanna with Catharine Roth, traditional duet
2005 – 2008, 2010 - Present. Performer/presenter for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council on subjects of Traditional American Folk Music and Civil War Music.
1987 – 1998. Founding member of the Orrtanna Mountain Steamers, a 3 piece ensemble specializing in old timey, traditional American music.
1972 – 1987. Founding member of the West Orrtanna String Band, a 6 piece ensemble specializing in the string band music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

1976: West Orrtanna String Band: “The West Orrtanna String Band.” Revonah Records, NY
1978: West Orrtanna String Band: “An Orrtanna Home Companion.” Revonah Records, NY
1989: Orrtanna Mountain Steamers: “Steam.” RFX1 Studio, Gettysburg, PA
1991: Orrtanna Mountain Steamers: “Wonderment.” Oasis Studio, College Park, MD
1999: Orrtanna: “You’ve Been a Friend to Me.” Stable Studio, Chambersburg, PA
2003: Tom Jolin: “Civilian.” Noteworthy Studio, Gettysburg, PA
2005: Archival Set of WOSB & OMS: “Traditional music from Orrtanna.” Noteworthy Studio, Gettysburg, PA. This is a three CD archival set preserved through funding from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Adams County Arts Council. This preservation project has copies residing at Folkways/Smithsonian, Pennsylvania State Library, William Penn Museum, and Adams County Historical Society.
2006: Barnstormers: “Promenade Home” RockCandy Studio, Mt. Airy, MD
2011: Tom Jolin “Of the People” Civil War era music. RockCandy Studio, Mt. Airy, MD