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Empty glass: Music gives Tom Moran the power to start over

Canarsie’s Tom Moran is the average Brooklyn boy. That is, if the average Brooklyn boy sinks to the depths of despair and then rises to the glory of the spotlight with a little guitar and a lot of faith. Moran said growing up with a close-knit Brooklyn brood was the easy part. The hard part came later when alcohol took over his life and he gave up nearly everything he loved -- except strumming that guitar. Even if it was, at times, only in the back of his head. “My Uncle Charlie (Moran), sister Kathy (Moran) and cousin Oatsie (Sponaro) all played guitar,” Moran said, adding he knew he wanted to continue the family tradition. “I wanted to make that same music,” he said. Not only did he pick up the guitar when he was 18, Moran, who would rather not reveal his age, said that was the same time he wrote his first song. “It was a terrible song,” he laughed. “It was like ‘fishes down by the sea.” His lyrics have since matured into heartfelt reality – which deal with daily life everywhere, but especially in the Borough of Churches. “Brooklyn keeps it real,” Moran said. “I’m a city worker, a teacher, and I always look for the positive things Brooklyn has to offer.” That’s a far cry from some of the feelings that erupt on his first album. Running the gamut from feeling chained, hopeless, “invisible in a room full of people” and drinking “because I had to,” Moran’s CD exposes the ugly side of the martini glass. But rather than letting alcohol beat him down into a useless pulp, Moran turned the tables on it and has been sober for 16 years – and used his story as musical inspiration. Aptly entitled “Starting Over” and available at, music man Moran said the title track best sums up his life. “It’s about addiction, a new start,” he said. Like his smoky-voiced lyrics, Moran’s guitar playing goes right to the heart. Several tunes, like “Help Me Baby” and “I Would Drink” have that sad, somber feel of the country chap who croons about his lost car, home and girlfriend. But this Brooklyn boy doesn’t leave the listener in the gutter and he wants to assist those that are. “I do want to help people,” he said, “homeless people and those in need.” Oh, yes. He also wants to sell a million albums. My manager says 10 million,” Moran said. A jam session for his second CD these days is more like a family reunion than anything else. With three guitar players and a manager, the brood all have Brooklyn roots that have intertwined for quite some time. Bath Beach’s Frank Scaglione has been jamming with Moran for 15 years, when Moran first showed up on his doorstep with a guitar to record his first demo in 1993. “I thought ‘Who is this guy?’” Scaglione recalled, something he admits he still wonders. Although Tom Moran’s brother Harry is no stranger to music – he started on the organ at age 6 then moved on to guitar at age 9, he is new to the Moran mix. He’s only recently become an official addition to the Moran band and, as the music will be, has been influenced by the mighty borough. “Brooklyn taught me to run fast,” Harry Moran said, adding it added a charisma and speed to his music, as well. Even the manager, Ann Mink, a.k.a. "Dee Mamma," has been associated with the Morans for eons. “I’ve been friends with Harry and Tommy’s mother for many years,” said Mink, who also has a vast background in PR for a number of record labels. “I watched the kids grow up,” she said, adding she’s only too proud to now help them succeed by advising strategies, gaining publicity and booking gigs, with some for Brooklyn in the works. The Moran band is also looking to add a bass player, drummer, saxophonist and perhaps even an organist into the mix. Anyone interested can contact Moran at With a group like that – led by a man who has overcome plenty of odds – Moran is hopeful they will soon be playing through radios and on stages throughout the entire nation. “Yes, I think we’ll be successful,” Moran said. “We hit a certain nerve. And we love the audience. We’re not going anywhere without them.” For more information, e-mail Moran at or visit

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