KEN TOBIAS reached national prominence in the 1960's as a cast performer on the Canadian television series Music Hop and Singalong Jubilee. Ken's duets with fellow rookie and later recording star, Anne Murray were magical. Ken, like fellow cast member and songwriter Gene MacLellan ("Snowbird", "Put Your Hand In The Hand"), was given the opportunity to sing his own songs on the show and like Gene, Ken would go on to pen a top ten Billboard hit. Ken moved back and forth between Halifax and Montreal for three years while living in Montreal. He performed at the legendary Cafe Andre and toured Quebec as a member of the group The Crystal Staircase.
Early in his career Ken moved to Los Angeles where his first record, "You're Not Even Going to the Fair", was produced by Righteous Brother, Bill Medley. The Beach Boys were just some of the guests that would drop by the sessions. This song earned Ken his first BMI award for outstanding airplay in Canada. While living in North Hollywood Ken met legendary songwriter Sharon Sheeley, writer of the hits "Poor Little Fool" for Ricky Nelson, and "Dum Dum" for Brenda Lee. Sharon became a close friend and mentor to Ken and introduced him to the The Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, and many other great music stars. In 1972 Ken appeared in concert with The Everly Brothers one year before they broke up. Soon Ken had his turn and became a celebrated songwriter when The Bells' recording of his song "Stay Awhile" became an international hit, selling over one million copies and reaching No. 7 on the Billboard Magazine charts.
In 1972 Ken recorded his first album, Tobias/Dream No.2, for MGM/Verve at MGM Studios in Los Angeles. The title track quickly became a Canadian classic. "Dream No.2" was followed by the top ten hit, "I Just Want to Make Music". Some of the great musicians who contributed to this recording included drummer Hal Blaine (Sinatra, Beach Boys, and 1000 others), Joe Osborne on bass, Larry Knechtel (Bread) ..boards, and Larry Carlton (Jazz Crusaders) on guitar.
In 1973, Ken recorded his second album, The Magic's In The Music in London, England at George Martin's Air Studios. This recording included songs he had written on a recent stay at Neil Young's ranch in California. The album featured King Crimson drummer Mike Giles and bassist Bruce Lynch (Cat Stevens). This album produced the Canadian hit "Fly Me High". A year later Ken was recording his third album Every Bit Of Love for Attic Records. Produced by Ken Tobias and John Capek, the project harvested four hit singles: "Every Bit of Love", "Give a Little Love", "Run Away With Me", "Lady Luck" and several songwriting awards.
In the summer of 1976 Universal Studios included Ken's song "Good To Be Alive in the Country" in the hit TV series The Bionic Woman starring friend, Lindsay Wagner who sings the song in the episode "Road To Nashville". In that same year Ken produced Siren Spell, his fourth album, which was followed the next year by Street Ballet. In 1978 Ken expanded his music work to Rome, Italy where he collaborated in the writing of the soundtrack for the Italian movie A Silver Saddle.
Two successful singles taken from Street Ballet had increased the demand for a compilation of Ken Tobias hits. The Ken Tobias Collection - So Far... So Good, was the result.
In 1983 Ken released "Here You Are Today", his tribute to his home town of Saint John, New Brunswick for Canada's first city's bicentennial. In that same year his Tourism New Brunswick commercial won the prestigious CLIO Award.
As primarily an exhibition of his work as a songwriter, in 1984 Ken recorded ten of his most recently penned songs under the album title Gallery, a co-production with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A second album that year was a venture into music for children via his album Ken Tobias - Friends. CBS Records added the album to their new children's label, Kiddin' Round Records. The title song "Friends" was featured in the 2004 feature movie Chicks with Sticks about a women's hockey team.
Ken Tobias continued through the eighties to be a prolific and all-around creative artist. In recent years his talents have expanded to painting. Over two hundred of his paintings have been sold and are hanging in private homes throughout Canada and the U.S. His music has also broadened into the realm of film and television. He has written and produced the music for several film and television programs including the 1987 award winning Shelley Saywell documentary Shahira and the 1988 award winning film Toronto: Struggle For Neighbourhood. Also in 1988 Ken was one of the first Canadian songwriters to be awarded the special Crystal Award by the performing rights society PROCAN in celebration of one hundred thousand performances of his song, Every Bit of Love.
In 1989, Ken was commissioned by Ballet Jorgen to create music for a feature segment of their new ballet. The result was a wonderful work entitled Dreams of A Subtle World.
In 1991, Ken completed the score for the two-hour television documentary The Greenpeace Years, aired nationally on CBC and distributed worldwide.
The Fall of 1992 saw Ken in production at Toronto's Reaction Studios recording six new songs. The songs were released to Canadian radio in the Spring of 1993 by Pangaea Music. His new songs once again clearly confirmed Ken's strength as a songwriter and his incredible vocal talent. 1993 and 1994 included television and live performances.
In 1994 Ken was awarded the SOCAN Classics Award for one hundred thousand performances of his hit "Every Bit of Love" followed in 1995 with the same prestigious award for two more of his songwriting hits, "Stay Awhile", and "I Just Want to Make Music".
In 1998 the book On A Cold Road: Tales of Adventure in Canadian Rock written by Rheostatics guitarist and music journalist, Dave Bidini was released with several pages dedicated to the music adventures of one of Canada's music pioneers, Ken Tobias. Ken's music experiences were the subject of many of the print and television reviews of the book.
In 2002 Ken performed at the East Coast Music Award's Songwriters Circle in Saint John, New Brunswick. This was his first performance in his hometown in years. In that same year, Ken also produced and arranged the self-titled debut CD for Toronto singer-songwriter, Kim Jarrett. In 2004, Ken hosted a song circle for the Saint John "Festival By The Sea" and followed in the same year a performance with Terry Kelly for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind which included the Celtic group The Cottars. At the 2004 East Coast Music Awards in Newfoundland, he performed at his friend Rylee Madison's "Behind The Song Cafe".
Ken has also been co-writing with some of the Canadaï¿½s best new emerging singer-songwriters including east coast sensation Jessica Rhaye.
In the fall of 2007 Ken began recording his first album project in 15 years at Fluid Audio Studios in his home town of Saint John, New Brunswick. The album was soft launched in May of 2008 and officially released at Kenï¿½s sold out show at The Blue Olive on September 20, 2008.
Whether it is his songwriting, his dynamic stage and television performances or his recording and producing, Ken's music always achieves creative success. His entire career and all of his successes to date have been based on his pursuit of excellence in his music. Ken Tobias continues to make music in his own tradition and audiences continue to applaud.
Ken continues to write, produce music and perform while dedicating much of his downtime to his second love... painting.
FOR A MORE DYNAMIC VERSION OF KEN'S BIO VISIT http://MySpace.com/KenTobias
MANAGEMENT / MEDIA / LICENSING CONTACT
Pangaea Media & Music Inc.
Official Website: www.KenTobias.ca
Ken Tobias is available to perform in the following formats:
Ken Tobias with full band:
Ken Tobias: vocals, rhythm / lead guitar
Musician 1: Lead guitar
Musician 2 Keyboards
Musician 3: Bass
Musician 4: Drums
Option: 2 Background singers
Ken Tobias: vocals / guitar
Musician 1: bass
Musician 2: drums
Ken Tobias: vocals and guitar
Musician 1: bass
Ken Tobias: singer-songwriter, songwriter circles, song and story format
Ken Tobias: vocals and guitar
1972 Tobias/Dream #2 MGM/VERVE - MGMV-5085
1973 Ken Tobias/The Magic's In The Music - MGM SE-4917
1974 Ken Tobias/Every Bit of Love - Attic LAT-1006 (iTunes)
1975 Ken Tobias/Siren Spell - Attic LAT-1013 (iTunes)
1976 Ken Tobias/Street Ballet - Attic LAT-1033 (iTunes)
1977 The Ken Tobias Collection - Attic LAT-1050 (iTunes)
1984 Ken Tobias/Gallery - CBC LM-483
1985 Ken Tobias/Friends - Kiddin' 'Round CBS KR-79806
1993 Ken Tobias (6 song EP-CD) - Pangaea PM-1001
2008 Ken Tobias: From A Distance - Pangaea PMH CD-1002
2009 Ken Tobias: Ho, Ho, Ho - Digi-Single - PMH-101
2010 Ken Tobias: Secrets - Digi-EP - Pangaea PMH DIG-1003
1969 You're Not Even Going To The Fair - Bell Records
1970 I'd Like To Know - MGM/Verve
1971 Now I'm In Love - MGM/Verve
1972 Dream #2 - MGM/Verve
1973 I Just Want To Make Music - MGM/Verve
1973 Fly Me High - MGM/Verve
1973 On The Other Side - MGM/Verve
1974 Lover Come Quickly - MGM/Verve
1975 Lady Luck - Attic
1975 Run Away With Me - Attic
1975 Every Bit Of Love - Attic
1976 Give A Little Love - Attic
1976 Oh Lynda - Attic
1977 Lovin' Fever - Attic
1977 Dancer - Attic
1977 Love Light - Attic
1977 I Don't Want To Be Alone - Attic
1977 Siren Spell - Attic
1978 New York City - Attic
1978 Silver Saddle - Attic / Cinevox (Italy)
1983 Here You Are Today - Gloosecap
1984 Crazy For Loving You - CBC Records
1984 My Maria - CBC Records
KEN TOBIAS - AWARDS & HONOURS
1969: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - You're Not Even Going To The Fair
1971: Moffat (Radio) Award, Composer of the Year - Best MOR Song - Stay Awhile
1971: BMI Certificate of Honour (US) - Stay Awhile
1971: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - Stay Awhile
1973: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - I Just Want To Make Music
1975: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - Lady Luck
1975: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - Run Away With Me
1976: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - Dream No. 2
1976: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - Every Bit of Love
1976: BMI Certificate of Honour (Canada) - Give A Little Love
1977: P.R.O. Certificate of Honour (Can) - Dancer
1978: P.R.O. Certificate of Honour (Can) - I Don't Want To Be Alone
1978: P.R.O. Certificate of Honour (Can) - New York City
1983: CLIO International Advertising Award - Writing and production for Tourism New Brunswick
1988: PROCAN Crystal Award for 100,000 radio plays - Every Bit of Love
1994: SOCAN Classic Award for 100,000 radio plays - Every Bit of Love
1995: SOCAN Classic Award for 100,000 radio plays - Stay Awhile
1995: SOCAN Classic Award for 100,000 radio plays - I Just Want To Make Music
2002: SOCAN Classic Award for 100,000 radio plays - Dream No. 2
2002: SOCAN Classic Award for 100,000 radio plays - Give A Little Love
2006: Legend Award - Saint John - Life time achievement
KEN TOBIAS CD REVIEW
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By Sandy Graham Ken Tobias “From A Distance” Reviewed 08-21-09 Produced and Arranged by Ken Tobi...By Sandy Graham
Ken Tobias “From A Distance” Reviewed 08-21-09
Produced and Arranged by Ken Tobias for Gloosecap Music Ltd.
Ken Tobias has earned his “stripes” in the recording industry and has given us hit after hit to remember him by ("Dream # 2", "Give A Little Love", "Fly Me High", "I Just Want to Make Music") and now with this CD Release “From a Distance” it is once again a reminder of why Tobias is deserving of his rightful place in the music recording industry.
There is a flow and journey Tobias takes you through his descriptive songs and heartwarming (and sometimes heartwrenching) lyrics. The flowing melodic lines and poetic lyrics have a timeless sound. His vocals are stronger than ever, and with experience has come a stronger, deeper burr of a voice – different but distinctly Ken Tobias.
The opening track, “Call Me”, is thought a provoking and haunting tune, with Rick Edgett adding great lead guitar licks and Dave Bartlett plays strong drums without being overpowering. ‘From a Distance”.the title track has a jazz feel and shows the diversity of the music on this CD. “Heart of Stone” and “My Maria” are reminiscent of the early Attic recordings.(I Don’t Want to Be Alone”) while “Stars In The Water” is the writings of the eternal romantic in Tobias. “I Had A Dream” is the mature writings of Tobias, showing his growth in both his writing and interpretation, and great underlying bass lines by Jon B. Gould. “Taboo” captures the diversity that Tobias now has in his voice, “Like Innocence” is an unsettling song, with haunting background vocals of Jessica Rhaye and Maureen-Pye, addressing the often thought about possibility of re-incarnation. “Baby of Mine” once again pulls together the great band on this session and Graeme McCausland brings it all together with great keyboards and string arrangements. The last song on the CD is a personal favourite on mine ‘Wings On My Guitar” written by Tobias for the birth of the first baby of the late Jeff Healey and his wife. This is truly an amazing song, combining the undying love we have for our children and our need to protect them from all evil – imagined or real.
To compare Ken Tobias with any other artist is close to impossible. His voice is unique, comforting and retrospective and really cuts to the heart soul and spirit. ‘From a Distance” is a must buy – not only for those of us who followed the career of Ken Tobias bur for new fans as well.
The CD “From A Distance” by Ken Tobias is available on iTunes.com
Visit Ken at www.myspace/kentobias or www.kentobias.ca
Management: Tony Tobias www.pangaeamediaandmusic.ca
KEN TOBIAS: FROM A DISTANCE - REVIEW
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Listening to From A Distance is like visiting an old friend you haven't heard from in a few years ...
Listening to From A Distance is like visiting an old friend you haven't heard from in a few years which is true, in Ken's case, for anyone who has followed his career or just liked the way he sings a song. Here, in this collection of new material, is an introspective journey through the eyes of this veteran singer/songwriter who has carefully honed his craft. He is no longer the so-called pop tunesmith of decades past, but a mature and serious composer and lyricist who still understands the importance of how songs should be written and delivered.
From the light and serious tone of Call Me, you feel a distinct place once safe and vulnerable being tested to see how close these waters are to your own true self worth as a human being. With the album's title song, there is the proclivity toward your own personal failings which only makes you human. By realizing the child in you is reaching out to remember the good times, you feel safe in the warmth and solace of your memories which keep you holding on in the present with a chance for hope in the future.
As you continue to listen to Ken's vocals, his words and music are extrapolating something extraordinary within the framework of their simple ideas and concepts about life's limitless journey, an eternal wanderlust of the singer as a folk/pop troubadour competing with his own instincts to reach out, especially in the bluesy Taboo which explores the aching inside the songwriter's soul as he tries to reconcile himself with the world on an equal plane. As he begs to say "go away baby" he longs for relief as innocent as a warm glance of reassurance to know everything is alright. It is something he needs to know as he remembers the woman who has made such an impact you almost feel this is more a fantasy conjured up in his own mind.
The smooth re-working of My Maria, which first was included on Ken's album, Gallery, is re-energized by the overwhelming positive resistance to rejection. The hero in the song remembers the night in Rio as if it were yesterday and like in I Had A Dream, the idealism of the moment brings happy memories, even if there is more fantasy in the expectations of wishing for the perfect woman; in this case, a lovely senorita south of the border in Mexico.
The erstwhile yearnings of a young man in I Had A Dream can be nicely connected to Stars In The Water, a melodic masterpiece which harkens back to some of the singer's early adult years when he was full of ambition and excitement in his life. Yet for all his hopes and dreams for it to come rushing back in the portals of time manufactured in his mind, there is still hope for a resolution to heal his worried soul.
In Heart of Stone, this hope is dashed by his own insecurities and deep-seated loneliness where he feels so compelled to stay, he can't quite free himself. The sheer weight of his mental condition is, again, tested within his own mind as he tries to concede his humanity as a fallible creature who feels safe in the arms of his music which, on a more subliminal level, becomes a resting place for the dreamer inside him because it's in this creation where he feels ultimate control.
This innocence is further captured in Like Innocence, where fantasy clashes with the reality to the point where he finds himself questioning the most basic virtues of human existence, from the timidity of his own body to the declaration of professing his true love for someone. As he fantasizes to be a hero from the fictional annals of history, like a medieval knight, the innocence of his introspective moments of lucidity finally give him a chance to redeem himself as the strong human being he has always felt himself to be. This reassurance, again, shines in his personal conception as a hero waiting to perform on the real stage of life when he is older and more mature.
From A Distance celebrates the inner soul of Ken Tobias' dedication to writing songs about his true feelings which he, obviously, feels consolation in communicating about them through the medium of songs: the jazz/blues influence of the title song which contributes to the overall album's credibility as a work of distinction, or the funk and R&B beat of Heart of Stone, the calypso feel of My Maria, the melodic feel of Stars In The Water, the powerful I Had A Dream, the soulful rendering of Taboo and Like Innocence, the acceptance and truth of Baby of Mine, or the gospel influenced Wings of My Guitar, which immediately echoes the late Jeff Healey on first listen.
In its entirety, it is full of wonderful blessings for the mind and soul to appreciate. As songs of introspection, it is an album to treasure by its sheer earnestness and profound way it transcends the ordinariness of the simple pop ditty to a level of elevated satisfaction and euphoria.
Rick Jackson is author of two books on Canadian music: The Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock, Pop & Folk Music and The Encyclopaedia of Canadian Country Music. He has also been a film critic in Kingston, Ontario for thirty years and currently hosts a popular Saturday morning show on CFRC, Queen University's campus radio station.
VETERAN KEN TOBIAS AND RISING STAR JESSICA RHAYE COLLABORATE ON SONGS AND ON STAGE
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 On Friday night, Ken Tobias and Jessica Rhaye take the stage at the ...Wednesday, November 18, 2009
On Friday night, Ken Tobias and Jessica Rhaye take the stage at the Capitol Theatre.
They will each have their own bands and perform their own music, but there will be some collaboration, too.
Ken is a Canadian icon who has been writing and performing music since the '60s.
As a young man, Ken moved to Los Angeles where his first record, "You're Not Even Going to the Fair," was produced by Righteous Brother Bill Medley. During his time there, he also worked with the Beach Boys, songwriter Sharon Sheeley, The Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, and many other great music greats.
Jessica Rhaye is a rising star at the beginning of her career. She began singing when she was four when her father brought home a microphone which plugged into the stereo.
Her first album, the self-titled "Jessica Rhaye" was released in 2000, followed by "Short Stories" in 2006 and her latest album, "Good Things" earlier this year.
She has performed throughout Canada, in Africa, the United States and all over the United Kingdom.
She has been nominated for eight East Coast Music Awards and recently won the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Contemporary Singer of the Year.
One of the many things these two artists have in common is their home town -- Saint John.
Jessica actually grew up in Hampton, just outside the port city. She was one of the first students to attend the newly built Hampton High School.
"I guess I am a big family girl," says Jessica. "My family is still here, and my husband and I both work here. I love to be around the people I love; and there is freedom being here, I can move around if I need to."
Jessica says that the modern music industry is different than it used to be; artists don't have to live in Nashville or Los Angeles thanks to e-mail and the Internet.
"Still, I'd like to go look around Nashville and see what all the fuss is about," she laughs.
"Probably not to live there, but to visit, and see it all. I still want to be able to come back home though, and there is something about being close to the water that I need as well."
Ken Tobias grew up in the city of Saint John and attended Simonds High School.
"I got an education, and Saint John was a great place to grow up, but I had a little bit of the wanderlust in me," recalls Ken. "I got to live out my own 'California Dreaming' and it was wonderful."
Ken returned to Saint John to be with his aging mother, thinking that with computers and modern communication he could do things from anywhere.
"Saint John is quite different than when I left," he says. "Back then there was just no way for an artist or musician to make their mark without leaving."
About four years ago, Jessica's father was reading the local paper and saw in an article about Ken Tobias moving back home. He told Jessica and her husband and manager, Mark Marshall, and together they wrote to Ken asking if he was interested in collaborating on some song writing.
"It was from that e-mail connection, all from one story in a paper that we began to get together regularly to work and write songs," Jessica says. "We have become really good friends, and now have bonded in many ways. Our music is just a really good fit and so we decided to try a show together."
Creative collaboration was something that really appealed to Ken.
"I loved her voice and her lyrics and I could see more promise in them than she saw in the moment," he says. "We were working on unfinished songs she had started.
"I am good with a hook, or writing choruses, and not being as close to it as she was, I would see some stuff that she would not see."
There were times that Jessica attended Ken's concerts and he would call her up on stage to sing the harmony on a song, sort of showing off the talent of his new friend. They have also done some Songwriters Circles together in Saint John over the last little while.
"My manager is also their publisher," explains Ken, "so we are friends, and colleagues. We have done some good things together and we decided this might be a good idea; the veteran and the younger person doing a show together."
"We really have bonded and are good friends," says Jessica, "and it is a good fit to perform our music together, I am not doing exactly what Ken is doing or vice versa, but we complement each other. He lets me sing on some of his stuff; we are doing a couple of pieces together in his set and I am pretty excited about that."
If the current shows go as well as Jessica and Ken are convinced they will, they will continue to work and perform together.
That is, if they can work it in to their already jam-packed schedules. Jessica has a DVD of concert footage coming out at New Year's and then she is off to Vancouver to perform at the Olympics.
"That will be really great, I have only been out West once and I am really looking forward to it," she says.
The show at the Capitol will feature sets by both artists, their full bands, and some singing together.
"It is a full production," Jessica says. "I am going to be singing pretty much everything on the new album and some of my older songs. It will be pretty cool."
"I have had hits, radio songs, and so I will do those," says Ken. "It is basically a one-hour show, so it won't be all my music. Besides, what I like to do is tell the stories behind the songs; I like to lead up to them, I don't do too much talking, but a balance."
An example of this is a song from his upcoming album, "Prince Edward Street."
"It is a song about where I was born, about being immigrants, how I felt about my family," Ken says. "The song just means more if I tell people the story that was behind what I wrote.
"I am thinking of doing a book. All of these stories need to be told and as I am revisiting them, I am finding the stories have more and more impact."
Ken is a big fan of trains, and wishes Moncton was still the rail hub of the Maritimes, but he is looking forward to being back in town.
"I am really looking forward to being in the Capitol Theatre," he says. "It is a beautiful building, and being back in Moncton will be great. It is going to be a great show."
TOBIAS AS HIMSELF
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by SANDRA DAVIS Ken Tobias doesn't write 10 songs a week anymore. These days, he says, he's lucky...by SANDRA DAVIS
Ken Tobias doesn't write 10 songs a week anymore. These days, he says, he's lucky to write 10 a year.
Singer-songwriter Ken Tobias, who is constantly surprised by what he calls the ‘true-heartedness’ of East Coasters, says you can be yourself in the Maritimes.
But that's not a bad thing.
The music he's taking the time to pen these days is complete.
"When I was writing 10 songs a week, they wouldn't be totally finished. Maybe three were good. I didn't have anything really to say other than 'I'm living.'
"But now, I have enough songs in my repertoire that I could have another two or three albums."
His latest studio album, From A Distance, was recorded a year ago after a 15-year recording hiatus and it speaks volumes about where Tobias is in life, touching on subjects such as dedication, forgiveness, déjà vu, loneliness, even reincarnation.
Initially, he wasn't sure the album had a common thread.
"But now I know there is," says the 63-year-old Saint John native.
"I'm comfortable in my skin. I'm determined not to go in and out of relationships. It's mature, clear; the songs are what I call round, they're complete. They're not too complicated but they really say clearly that I'm here, that I'm happy with my life, that I'm not going to make the same mistakes anymore.
"I'm willing to have pain in my heart, I can handle it, rather than getting caught up in problems.
"I don't like every one of my albums. This album, I like everything. It's the first time."
Tobias reached national prominence in the 1960s as a cast performer on the Canadian television series Music Hop and Singalong Jubilee. In a track on the new album titled I Had A Dream, Tobias recounts train trips from Saint John to Halifax to perform on the shows.
Early in his career, Tobias moved to Los Angeles, where his first record, You're Not Even Going to the Fair, was produced by Righteous Brother Bill Medley.
He was only 26 years old when he wrote the million-selling hit single Stay Awhile for The Bells, and has had a solo career of hits including I Just Want to Make Music, Dream No. 2 and Every Bit of Love.
"When I started in the music business, everything was a single," he said.
"Now there are two major record companies and the rest are independents. I've been on 15 different labels but now I'm an indie and I'm paying for it myself."
Tobias, who's also a painter with more than 200 of his paintings sold and hanging in private homes throughout Canada and the United States, has also written and produced the music for several award-winning films and television programs.
He has received the SOCAN Classics Award for 100,000 performances of five solo recordings: Stay Awhile, I Just Want To Make Music, Every Bit Of Love, Give A Little Love and Dream No. 2.
He also suspects he will be one of the first Canadian artists to clinch a contract for digital downloading in China; his brother and business partner, Tony, has been in Beijing working out those details.
"In southeast Asia, Stay Awhile is Top-40 karaoke," he says.
Tobias and his band will play tracks off From a Distance, along with all of his hits and other tunes, when he takes the stage at the Blue Olive in Saint John on Sept. 20.
His band is comprised of Rick Edgett on lead and acoustic guitars; Graeme McCausland on keyboards, Jon B. Goud on bass, and Dave Bartlett, drums and percussion. Jessica Rhaye and Maureen Moulton-Pye provide background vocals on the album, which was recorded and mixed at Fluid Audio Group Studios by Tobias and Andrew MacRae and remixed at Tobias's own Glooscap Music.
Tobias has been back living in Saint John for four years now after calling cities like Toronto and Los Angeles home for 40 years. But he still isn't used to what he calls the "true-heartedness" of people on the East Coast.
"I called a buddy of mine and said I needed some help moving stuff out of the basement. The next thing you know, it was all moved out. He brought some guys over," he said.
"They didn't want any money. You get a lot of that here.
"It's a small-town feeling, the kindness."
As he prepares to have his photograph taken on North Market Street in Saint John recently, a car pulls up and passes Tobias's new CD out the window. It's Bill Richards, who's just bought the album at Backstreet Records.
"I've got a Sharpie," Tobias tells him, digging in his bag, as Richards compliments him on the new release.
"When you're home in the Maritimes, you can be yourself," Tobias says, sipping a beverage in the Infusion Tea Room.
"I don't have to be the artist. It's a gas."
A lot of angst has left him since coming home, he says.
"I'm up until three or four in the morning. I have a café culture. This is my kind of culture," he says, glancing around the tea room.
"I can go to the lake, the river, the ocean, walk in the woods, go out to Cape Spencer and look at the water and just feel great."
Ken Tobias performs Sept. 20 at the Blue Olive on Rothesay Avenue in Saint John at 9 p.m. Tickets, $25, are available at the Mediterranean Restaurant or by calling 634-3183.
A MARITIME TREASURE COMES HOME
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Published Thursday September 18th, 2008 Matt Carter The return of Ken Tobias to his hometown of ...Published Thursday September 18th, 2008
The return of Ken Tobias to his hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick has been a long time coming. His years spent travelling the world as a musician, have given him a new appreciation for the foggy city of his youth.
"I must admit that since I moved home, I've noticed how the seasons change really quick," he said. "You can really see the change in seasons taking place as the wind blows them away. When I was younger before I left home, I remember how the winds would come up and the leaves would fall and instantly it became winter. Then it seemed like all of a sudden the wind would pick up again and it was spring. It's a Maritime thing," he added.
Tobias is now in his early sixties. He left home at a very young age to pursue a career as a musician. It seemed that the more success he found, the further and further away from his hometown he travelled, taking him to places like Toronto, Los Angeles and Rome in search of music opportunities.
He got his start in show business in the 1960s on the Canadian TV series, Singalong Jubilee alongside Anne Murray and Gene MacLellan, and like them, he too can claim a number of top hits to his credit.
In the '60s and '70s, his gift for songwriting brought him numerous awards and chart rankings, things achieved by only a handful of other Canadians at the time. Although he's rarely given credit for it, his work opened doors for the thousands of Canadian musicians who would later follow his lead in taking their music to the masses. He's without a doubt, a true Maritime treasure.
In the late '80s, Tobias shifted his focus from the stage, choosing to work behind the scenes. His creative abilities were proved wide and diverse when he accepted an invitation to write a score for the famous Ballet Jorgen dance company. This opened a whole new world for Tobias to release his creative energies.
Around this time, songwriting and performing were beginning to take their toll on him and this change of pace was just what he needed to recharge.
"I grew a little tired of it," he said. "I've been in it for a long time. I've been onstage since I was four and I'm 63 now. Show business is all I've known in my life." After so many years away from home, and with renewed inspiration, Tobias has finally come back to Saint John and recently completed his first full album in nearly 15 years. This is also his first album recorded in Saint John, something he has wanted to do for a long time.
"My brother and I have often thought about contributing our experiences to try and help the music scene here. That's one of the main reasons we decided to try doing a recording in Saint John," he said. "At first I was planning on recording this record in Nova Scotia because I know there are more recording studios there. I'd spent some time there in the past and thought it was the place to go, but then once I thought about it with my brother, who is also my manager we thought maybe this would be a good opportunity to use our experiences over all those years and maybe do something in Saint John. We figured if we have the toys and the tools and a good engineer, we could probably do it." There are several independent studios around the Saint John area, but finding the right one for the job can be a challenge. After looking high and low, the two settled on a little known studio in the city's west end.
"We found a studio called Fluid Audio down on Charlotte Street in Saint John. They just put their act together and have an unusual studio in an all-wood room that was originally a furrier's vault. If you want a real live sound, it's great. It's an especially good place for drums sounds," he added.
Together with engineer Andrew MacRae and a handpicked group of area musicians, Tobias then set to recording a choice selection of songs penned over the past several years.
"On the new album, I think there are only two songs written since I've been back in Saint John," he said. "I've been writing songs for years and since I got involved doing other things like production work, I haven't done as much recording of my own. Most of these songs can be traced back over the past 15 years. I'm not as prolific a songwriter as I was when I was younger. Back then I used to write 10 songs a week. Now I write 10 songs a year if I'm lucky," he said.
Backing him on his latest recording are some of the area's finest musicians. Graeme McCausland plays keyboards, Jon B. Goud's on bass, Dave Bartlett plays drums, and long-time friend and fellow musician Rick Edgett plays lead guitar.
Edgett is a guitar player living in Nova Scotia and originally from Moncton. He's worked with Tobias in the past, having performed guitar duties on Tobias favourites Dream No.2 and New York City.
Another popular name among Saint John musicians was able to join Tobias in the studio.
"I had Jessica Rhaye do some background vocals," said Tobias. "When I first heard her music I thought 'my God this girl can sing'. She's a beautiful singer and writes beautiful songs." Now with his first album in 15 years finally complete, Tobias now shifts his experience and creativity to marketing. This album marks the first independent release in his career and with it comes a new series of challenges for the veteran musician.
"I've never been an independent before," said Tobias. "I remember when I was producing my albums in the past, I'd walk into the record company with the master and they'd say 'thanks Ken' and I'd walk away. Then it was like some magical thing happened. I would walk into a record store and there it was." Together with his brother Tony, Tobias has been busy securing distribution, and pursuing all the other tasks involved in independently marketing a release.
Next on his agenda is a soft release coming up at The Blue Olive in Saint John. Such an intimate setting for such a worldly talent.
"I played the Olive maybe three years ago when I first came to town and we did really well. At that time people were asking me when I planned on putting a new record out. They wanted to hear some new Ken Tobias songs. Now I have a new record out and I'm thinking it should be a great time." Ken and his band take the stage on September 20 to perform his latest collection of songs along with a handful of classics. Don't miss this chance to hear one of Canada's legendary songwriters up close and personal.
Thanks for coming home Ken.
WILLIAM GEORGE ARDLEY
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By Gery Lemon Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003 Husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, sport-fishing...By Gery Lemon
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003
Husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, sport-fishing industry pioneer. Died
June 19, of stomach cancer, aged 59.
This is a story about an act of love, about the human spirit, and the power of
music. It happened during the third week of June of this year -- the final week of
my brother George Ardley's life. But it began 30 years ago when George and his
girlfriend Pat were lighthouse keepers on Addenbrooke Island, 250 kilometres
north of Vancouver on the wild coast of British Columbia.
George was in his late twenties when he got his assignment to run the
lighthouse near the mouth of Rivers Inlet. I visited them at the lighthouse that
first summer and George put a record on the turntable. "Listen to this, Ger," he
said and I sat in rapt attention as he introduced me to a piece of music that he'd
discovered and loved. It was a powerful and lyrical song that we would get lost
Called Dream #2, it was written and performed by a Canadian guy named Ken
Tobias. George and Pat played the song for years, but then life took over. They
married, built Rivers Lodge, their destination sport-fishing lodge in Rivers Inlet,
and had two children. Dream #2 didn't come out on CD and was left on the shelf
of an era.
Last November, following another spectacular season at the lodge he
considered his cathedral, George was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was a
warrior. He had a lodge to run and a family to care for and this was to be a bump
in the road to the next fishing season.
Throughout George's illness, music was a constant in the Ardley house. Dream
#2, however, had always remained George's favourite song. His son, Casey,
remembered this and after an intense search on the Internet, he found and
downloaded it to CD. It knocked us sideways when it first played -- that familiar
tune of our youth. We were all nostalgia and wistfulness and tears as Ken Tobias
sang how the art of really flying is dying.
On the second Saturday in June, I returned to my home in Victoria after visiting
George. Couldn't sleep. I had to try to find Ken Tobias.
I began the quest at midnight, searching the Internet for references. I sent emails
to every site that made reference to Ken Tobias. My brother was critically
ill, I said, had rediscovered his music idol and I wanted to find him. The phone
rang Sunday night, June 15.
"Is Gery there?" Speaking. "This is Ken Tobias." Be still my heart. Ken Tobias
had phoned me at home. I told him about George and his love of Dream #2 and
about his illness. He asked what he could do. I asked him if he would phone him.
The next day George was at a medical clinic when Pat's cell phone rang. And
the connection was made. George, who was thrilled and disbelieving, told him
what the song had meant to him and Ken told him how grateful he was that his
music still moved people. George told him of attending his Vancouver concert in
1978 and standing star-struck in the middle of the dance floor. Ken told him he
would send him a CD.
On Thursday, June 19, a parcel arrived by express post. It was the promised CD
with a note from Ken Tobias. George was so pleased. He listened to it in its
entirety. And a few hours later he was gone.
I don't know what forces conspired to bring George a gift from a singer he'd
admired for 30 years on the last day of his life. I think maybe it was just a closing
miracle in George Ardley's amazing life.
Gery Lemon is George Ardley's sister.
SOME MEDIA QUOTES FROM OVER THE YEARS
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Just a little of what they said… “Ken Tobias is another singer-songwriter at the interface of Dyl...Just a little of what they said…
“Ken Tobias is another singer-songwriter at the interface of Dylan and The Beatles…”
“Tobias’ performances…was one of brilliance – he will be around the music business for awhile to come.” THE GAZETTE, London, Ontario
“Tobias is one of Canada’s most versatile and interesting songwriters…one of the countries premier talents.” THE PROVINCE, Vancouver, BC
“Ken Tobias – one of Canada’s most talented all around musical personalities…”
THE CHRONICLE-HERALD, Halifax
“Tobias…a strong writer and appealing singer.”
THE TORONTO STAR
“Tobias has a fine, distinctive voice and graceful stage presence.”
THE CITIZEN, Ottawa
“Multi-talented Tobias shines…” KITCHENER-WATERLOO RECORD
“He (Tobias) has a feeling for his songs that comes through with brilliance.”
CHUM FM, Toronto
“Tobias’ voice is one of the most versatile vocal instruments I have heard in awhile… There is a rare energy – the kind you usually associate with Rod Stewart or Elton John.”
LOS ANGELES FREE PRESS
“He (Tobias) is a lyrical expert…” THE GLOBE AND MAIL, Toronto
“Tobias is a contemporary music poet with a method of communicating with his audience that ranks him among the top professionals in the business.”
Ken Tobias performs his classic hits along with new material including songs from his new album From A Distance. Concert club sets are usually 2 x 45 minutes and concert soft seat venues shows are from 75 to 90 minutes.
SET LIST (approximate)
I Just Want to Make Music
Fly Me High
Prince Edward Street
Bye Bye Baby
Heart Of Stone
Stars In The Water
I Had A Dream
New York City
From A Distance
Give A Little Love
Baby Of Mine
Wings Of My Guitar
Misery Loves Company
Run Away With Me
Every Bit Of Love
PDF RiderKen Tobias - Band Stage Plot + Tech Requirements
There are no upcoming dates at this time.