Toby Tobias is a South African born resident of New York and a musician who really cares about people and the world in general. The Toby Tobias Ensemble is a Long Island based band playing Modern Folk/Jazz influenced by Funk and World Rhythms, so there should be something here to suit most musical tastes. The sound of Africa comes through loud and clear in the EP which gives a wonderful taster introduction to Toby's style of music.
I first came across Toby when I reviewed his debut album three years ago. I immediately loved the tracks on offer and felt that I had met a kindred spirt both in terms of music and humanity. We both have a love of Africa too! I was therefore thrilled when Toby contacted me recently and asked me to review this new EP "Reach Out."
I am not a real fan of EP's as I often feel somewhat short changed. However I do recognise the need to produce them both from an artist's perspective and the buying public. It is also a reasonable way of getting to know the artist and his/her music without investing a small fortune.
So, what about this new EP "Reach Out?" Five excellent tracks outlining Toby's desire to bring people all over the world together in peace, harmony and respect. The best thing of all is that it works too.
"Hold Me Now" is a delightful little love song with a simple but effective guitar introduction and a strong message. It is also my favourite track on the EP. "I Listen & I See" reflects Toby's love of the world, life and its occupants. The world belongs to us all as Toby sings. "Story Of Our Lives" is a track that could have just been sung and heard in an African Village. "The One With Open Eyes" is a song about hope for the future and what our children should aspire to. The lyrics include the line "Show him that life is no disguise" a message for all of our children. "Reach Out" with its slightly blues influenced backing is another song depicting life and the future for us all.
So many messages in this very musically clever EP although I am not sure that they will all get through. I also have no doubt that many listeners will not share Toby's love of life and humanity but hopefully they will appreciate his love of music.
The band which never overplays its hand nor plays so loud that the powerful messages from Toby are lost, is made up of Toby Tobias on Acoustic Guitar, Vocals and Background Vocals, Mike Nugent on Electric Guitar, Jon Mele on Drums, Richie Guerrero on Percussion and Cosmo Mallardi on Bass. Together they combine to make music that offers hope for the future whilst being firmly imbedded in the sounds of today and especially of Africa.
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