Joel Tinnel

Photo © Laura S. Tinnel, used by permission.


I played in a large number of local garage bands in my native Knoxville, TN while attending college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Then I graduated and moved. Everyone’s got to live somewhere: I live in Manassas, VA. If you were married in Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland, or DC between 1995 and 2010, you might have hired The TomCats to play your reception; in that case, you might have heard me play. Otherwise, you likely have no idea who I am.

I started piano at age 9 and guitar at age 13. My dad was a fine musician who played guitar, bass, and mandolin -- he introduced me to a lot of the greats in big band, western swing, country, and rock. That influenced me a lot. Beyond that, the usual suspects (Beatles, Stones, Who), Charlie Christian, Django Reinhart, Joe Pass... everyone who ever picked up a guitar and made cool sounds, I listened. I've had lessons, I'm still taking lessons - but even after understanding the Hungarian Minor scale, I still don't sound like Ritchie Blackmore.