Wikipedia on Tom Waits. Daniel Durchholz’s definition of his voice is priceless, and pretty much on target.
Thomas Alan “Tom” Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” With this trademark growl, his incorporation of pre-rock music styles such as blues, jazz, and vaudeville, and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music, Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona. He has worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and has acted in supporting roles in films including Paradise Alley and Bram Stoker’s Dracula; he also starred in the 1986 film Down by Law. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart.
Above is Tom Traubert’s Blues, which samples, of all things, Waltzing Matilda. Below is Ol ’55. Also check out out his version of the Phil Phillips’‘ song Sea of Love, which was used in the Al Pacino/Ellen Barkin movie of the same name. John Fahey has another amazing version of the song as well.
Here is Wait’s website.