CD review by Roger Zee (08/17/16)
Artie Tobia has mastered the art of writing three-chord American Rock. John Fogerty and Mellencamp got nothing on this boy. Singing in a big, bold baritone, Tobia revels us with tales of love, heartbreak, tragedy, redemption, and just plain old humor! Produced by Al Hemberger and Tobia in a clean, subtle fashion, the players include the leader (vocals/acoustic guitar), Mark Barden (guitar), Mark Bridgman (bass/vocals), Stuart Stahr (drums), Kevin Myers (keyboards), and Nicole Alifante (vocals).
Lots of reminiscing here. In "Kryptonite," our hero cheerfully reflects on the woman he just can't resist. "She made me weak, she bring me down to my knees. I couldn't even put up a fight!" Terrific Eighties-style guitar solo. On the title track, "Aberdeen," everywhere the singer looks he finds traces of his lost, epic love. One question - Aberdeen New Jersey, Maryland, or Texas? "Big Bosom Lady" tells the story of people who put on a good front only to later reveal the sordid truth about their lives. "I like my work and the money is good. I got a few good years left in me, knock on wood." Sung by a whore, and a hit man, a soldier, and a drug dealer. In "First he Was My Father," Tobia intones the love he feels for his dad. "Sometimes he was cowboy, sometimes he was a chief. But first he was my father, that's what he gave to me."
The band really excels on the two country-blues numbers. The tongue-in-cheek "Mama Calling Me" features top notch Tele-twang riffs by Mark Barden who also rips a hurricane of a solo. Kevin Myers tinkles the ivories with wicked glee. Drummer Stuart Stahr and bassist Mark Bridgman provide the solid, unobtrusive beat that propels the soloists to reach their highest. "Boom Boom Boom" builds on the groove of Sonny and Cher's "The Beat Goes On" and describes the day of a guy with "nowhere to go." Organ and guitar flourishes tastefully gussy up the tune.
Artie Tobia figured it out. All you need is three chords, a booming voice, and a sympathetic band. Sounds easy but the Devil's in the detail! It takes a lot of heart and soul, not to mention ingenuity, to create something new from something old.
©2016 Roger Zee