“Anything you’re passionate about is a lot of hard work. It requires hours, days, years, but just don’t give up. That is the only thing that’ll bring you down. I can’t tell you how many days of work I’ve had to endure on two or three hours of sleep, how much money I’ve had to personally invest in equipment, and how much personal sacrifice I’ve made to get to this point.”
“Over the past 10 years of my career, I’m willing to bet I’ve logged well over 500 hours of having an instrument in my hand. And I’m still not as good as I want to be. But I’m willing to put in another 500 hours. You have to love every single second of it, because it’s your time and your art. If you can bring yourself to love your work, then you can never go wrong.”
“What always keeps me going is the fans. Looking out on a crowd and seeing people singing along, smiling, grooving, or laughing makes me understand why I get to do this for a living. For that reason, I’ll never turn down a request to play music.”
“About a year ago, I met a couple from Radford, and one of our mutual friends gave them a copy of my first demo. They instantly loved it, and we ended up becoming great friends. They even asked me to perform one of my original songs for the first dance at their wedding in Fort Worth. It was nothing short of magical. That made me realize that even on a small scale, I’m helping change the world and people’s lives. It’s hard to think of that week in Texas and not smile.”
“Last January, I was able to release my first solo album under my own record label Middle Ridge Records. We recorded at Windfall Studios with Dave Fason. I played every single instrument on the album except for bass piano (provided by Dave) and violin (performed by Laurel Brooke). We instantly received radio play on 101.5 FM, and I’ll never forget the first time I heard my song, “Where You Are” being broadcast across the airwaves.”
Local musician Seph Custer has been lighting up the stage lately, playing between 100 and 120 shows a year. In addition to playing acoustic and slide guitar with several groups, as well as in his solo act, he also sits in with a number of musicians to play mandolin (one of his personal favorites), banjo, bass, ukulele, fiddle, or dobro.
When he’s not playing on the stage, he works at The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount as a truck unloader, stage assistant, and runner, and has had the opportunity to work some prominent shows including Merle Haggard in 2015. There are several upcoming dates when you can catch him live:
Revive-All at Awful Arthur’s Downtown, Sunday, Sept. 3, at 3 p.m. with the Papa Tom Band on the outside stage. Then again later that day with his acoustic duo, Seph and TK, on the inside stage at 7:30 p.m.
On September 17th The Papa Tom Band will be playing at Chantilly Farm in Floyd, VA for the Floyd Livestock & County Fair at 1 p.m. Ben and Noel Haggard, sons of the late, great Merle, are headlining that event.
Seph cites a number of classic rock guitarists as the inspiration for his music and shared one of his recent playlists with Blue Ridge Rocks. Learn more about Seph and the Papa Tom Band online.
- Simon Says – Pharoahe Monch
- Don’t Hurt Yourself – Beyoncé ft. Jack White
- I Can’t Quit You Babe – Led Zeppelin
- 4.Nationwide – ZZ Top
- 5.Let’s Caramelize – The Tallest Man On Earth
- Crazy – Gnarles Barkley
- Walking Down The Line- The Dillards
- Down Rodeo – Rage Against The Machine
- Ball and Biscuit – The White Stripes
- Catfish Blues – Jimi Hendrix
- Miss You – The Rolling Stones
- Spirit In the Sky – Norman Greenbaum