Claire Tomlinson was born and raised in New York's upper Westside.
Listening to 1940s radio, she reveled in black gospel music and country music and later experienced the blending of these musical strains in the explosion of rock and roll.
In the late 1950s discovering the Harry Smith blues and folk collection was an epiphany revealing the roots and sources of the music she had been listening to for so long.
She immersed herself in the sounds of these obscure and profoundly original singers: Robert Johnson, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson, John Estes, Henry Thomas, John Hurt, Doc Watson, and Clarence Ashley, to name a few.
They pointed the way to other singers, men and women, black and white, whose recordings surfaced and greatly influenced musicians of the 60s and 70s.
Claire first sang and played piano as a child. taking up guitar, she began to play the blues and studied with Dave Van Ronk.
Many years later while living in St. Louis, she returned to the piano, working and studying with venerable blues man Henry Townsend.
"The voice that comes out of this little lady takes you by surprise. She's small, but her sound isn't. Claire mixes up black and white sounds in a way that makes her music sound familiar, but original. She puts her own mark on it."
- Henry Townsend
"Gritty piano blues from a woman's point of view by an appealing new artist."