Some quotes to prove it:
Jamie Barnes purposely toughens up his sound by layering junkyard percussion, toy keyboards and Muppet banjo. The effect answers the previously unasked question, "What would John Denver have sounded like if he had followed Tom Waits' career path?"
(The Courier Journal)
It was at home on the couch that Keith (Richards) penned "This Place is Empty " [without you], a fine country-style ballad from the new album that he croons raggedly à la Tom Waits.
(The Independent Online)
Johnny Dowd: Quirky doesn't even begin to describe this local master of dark, roots-based music. Tom Waits is the closest comparison point, though they work in differently twisted worlds.
The Cribs raise the bar with witty sarcasm -- lampooning overly self-conscious punk rock denizens and late night tokers -- and surprisingly charming detours into softer sounds, like when they bust out an accordion and keys on the Tom Waits-meets-Randy Newman shuffle of "It Was Only Love."
Truth be told, most of the tracks off his (Ridley Bent) debut disc Blam already read like a cross between Tom Waits, Raymond Chandler and Raymond Carver.
Spottiswoode and His Enemies sounds like a group that has a taste for the best hipster rock of the 1970s and '80s. "Building a Road," the New York group's current CD, suggests Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Elvis Costello with downtown horns and cabaret piano.
Tom Heinl is on to something. The music sounds like Nashville circa Robert Altman, but with lyrics that Tom Waits would adore.
His (Jeremy "Bug" Young) biggest writing influence is Shakespeare. His modern musical influences are Bob Dylan and Tom Waits.