GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A musician who has made a name for himself throughout West Michigan and the country through his work with his band Cosmic Knot, recently had a guitar returned to him eight months after it was stolen out of his home.
Tom Wall has made music for most of his life—he's also made musical instruments most of his life as well.
He created his first guitar by hand when he was 16 years old. Sadly, it was that guitar that would eventually be taken from his home while he was out picking blueberries.
“I’m a strong believer in serendipity, and I know for a fact that if you understand how it works and roll with it, as opposed to fighting it, your life will go better," Wall told FOX 17.
His band Cosmic Knot recorded their debut album, Inner Space, in 2017 at Third Coast Recording in Grand Haven. The album went on to make several radio play charts across Michigan and beyond—an unexpected success for the band.
Immediately before they entered the studio to record, Wall had been content running an organic growing supply store. He jumped feet first into music, after he says he decided to leave the grow shop due to a bad business partner.
"We start working on the album, and I was out just recording different sounds in nature and things like that, trying to find ways to incorporate it into it," Wall explained.
Inner Space includes field recordings throughout its run time. Its soundscape matches the progression of the seasons—the sounds of birds arriving at its start, and birds leaving as it moves on.
Once the album was released, Wall put all of his effort and resources into getting exposure and airplay. Everything fell into place as radio stations started playing it, and the band kept getting asked to perform at shows—they even won Walk the Beat in Grand Haven.
This is all without mentioning what Wall has perhaps become most associated with—his work in Florganoleptic music.
”It's all based on this technology that has an electrode that hooks up to the roots and an electrode that hooks up to the branches," Wall explains in a video that has since been viewed thousands of times online.
The two electrodes run back to a small device housed in a wooden box, which reads the electromagnetic pulses emitted by the plant, and turns those into musical notes. The different ranges correspond to different notes. As they fluctuate, the box puts out corresponding tones.
Wall has released several videos of plants "playing" alone, and along with other instruments. Cosmic Knot is currently working on their next album, which will include sounds created through this method.
With everything going in an upward trajectory, all of a sudden Wall experienced several setbacks.
“I was working with a black powder rifle, just shooting at a target, and something happened and it didn't shoot right and it blew backwards," he explained to FOX 17.
"I was in trauma, and then I got in the accidents.”
He experienced temporary hearing loss after the rifle accident, and then survived two significant car crashes.
“I had to try and get back on my feet from that; it took a while... a couple months later, I'm robbed.”
He says they took over $20,000 in musical gear, instruments, and anything else they could get their hands on.
“My random propane heater, they took... I had shoes that were worn out that they stole... they took our bananas... they took my pillowcases... it was just weird," he said.
“I noticed my guitar was by the door; it wasn't there, and I'm like, 'No, no, no, that's not real.'"
But, it was real. And it would be eight months before he saw his guitar again.
“Through my adopted parents, Damon and Laurie.... Laurie was a police officer, and she was the one that got the tip to try and find out who it was," he said.
"Damon went door-to-door and actually hunted my guitar down for me right here, and got it back.”
Wall got to play his handmade guitar for the first time live (since it was stolen) at Hash Bash 2021, where Cosmic Knot performed as the house band.
"Life has a way, and if you go with the flow, it'll work with you.”
Cosmic Knot is currently working on their new album, which is expected to be out soon.