Carl Tosten

Carl Tosten


Contemporary Folk. Singer-Songwriter. Modern Acoustic. Carl Tosten's music defies easy classification. His superbly crafted lyrics share the spotlight with intricate and agressive guitar arrangements combining virtuosity with sensitivity and a social conscience.


Contemporary folk. Modern acoustic. Singer/songwriter. Carl Tosten is a musician whose style defies easy classification. With his strong and soulful voice and an eclectic & expressive guitar technique that includes percussion, tapping, multiple open tunings and capos, Tosten has been called an “acoustic one-man band.”

From house concerts to concert halls, Carl’s dynamic vocals and rhythmic, percussive guitar style fill his performances with intense energy, stories and music — weaving a web of writing, singing and playing that captivates and inspires his audiences.

Victory Review writes: “Tosten’s superbly crafted lyrics share the spotlight with intricate and aggressive guitar arrangements combining virtuosity with sensitivity and a social conscience.” His songs and stories portray a raw truth that isn’t afraid to be heard; from looking outward at politics and culture, to looking inward at love and coping with loss. His lyrics and music reverberate with the human struggle to find meaning and to be understood.

As an artist representative and traveling clinician for several major manufacturers — including Gibson, Dean Markley and Behringer — Tosten has had the opportunity to perform and conduct guitar and songwriting workshops and product demonstrations throughout the US, in Canada and Europe.

A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Tosten is an award-winning songwriter who has invited comparisons with Bruce Cockburn, David Wilcox and Bill Morrissey. His instrumental work has been features on web, video, and on the recently released compilation CD Guitar Masters Vol. 1 from Bohemian Productions in NYC, which also features guitarists Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, Steve Morse, John Scofield, Pete Anderson and others. Since 1999, Carl has independently released five CD’s of his original music and lyrics.


American Dream

Written By: Carl Tosten

Little man goes to sleep in his big Park Avenue bed
By counting all the money that he knows he’s gonna save
By movin’ his factories to China, they’ll work for pennies a day
And I say oh, he’s sellin’ out you and me, for his American Dream.

Big old man sit’s alone in his little middle class house
So bitter at the world, for how he thinks his life has turned out
So he cookin’ up some scheme gonna clean all our bank accounts out
And I say, oh he’s sellin’ out you and me, for his American Dream.

Poor man waits every day for his bus to come
He’s workin' two jobs cause he don’t want no handouts from anyone
At the end of the month he hasn’t got a penny to his name
But he still says, oh I’m just so happy to be free, livin my American Dream

What makes some men greedy when they already have so much
Stare back from their fast movin’ lives
To watch the rest of the world choking in their dust

And what makes some men feel like their dreams never quite came true
So they’re gonna get it anyway they can by stealing it from me an’ you

What makes some men feel like they’re standin’ on top of the world
Though they haven’t got a single claim to fame they’re just happy to be breathin the air

American Dream…… American Dream…….what does it mean to you me
American Dream….. American Dream,
American Dream, what does it mean to you and me
American Dream, oh won’t you tell me please, what’s your American Dream?

Like My Father

Written By: Carl Tosten

When I was a child I wanted to be
Just like my father was, or so I used to think.
Up until the day that I turned 13
Felt that cold and lonely breeze of his leavin', blow right through me.

So mom sold the farm and we moved to town,
I got lost, acting older than I knew how to be.
Tryin' to build this wall up but it keeps on crashing down.
No, I can’t hold back the sorrow that’s like a river, raging inside of me.

How could you just walk away from me
When you told me you loved me a thousand times at least and I believed
I used to hope and pray that you’d come back,
Now I pray that I will never be, Like my father was to me.

I’ve gotten older made my share of mistakes
Got a girl pregnant and theres a baby now that looks just like me.
Though it’s a struggle just to make ends meet
Well every time I see her face I know there’s nowhere else that I’d rather be.

I really can’t understand how easily you could leave me.
When I would die a thousand times before I caused her heart to break.
I don’t want her walkin’ through this world feeling like I did,
I just want her to be happy, want her just to be a kid and know that

I’ll never walk away from you,
I’ll tell you I love you every day and prove that it’s all true.
And at night I want you lost in peaceful dreams,
Knowin’ I will never be to you, Like my father was to me.
Da da da da da da……. Like my father was, too me.

Naked Trees

Written By: Carl Tosten

Broken sidewalks the leaves are falling,
Saturday night gives way to Sunday morning’s calling
and I’m on my feet through this neighborhood
just looking for something good to eat.

The lonely streets bear the scars of last nights follies,
There’s abandoned cars and broken bottles in the alleys
While a homeless man sells me a paper
for a buck I get a God bless you,
God bless ya too I say.

Sunday brunch will have to be my lunch and dinner,
I’m trying to drop a few pounds before the long cold winter,
Just like those naked trees that I can see,
swaying in the chilly November breeze.

Too much coffee and just enough to eat, you know
I’ve never spent that much time in this part of the city
and there’s a feeling here that I can’t shake
it’s like a broken heart it starts to rain
and though I’ve armed myself against this cold,
the gray November day grabs ahold and I shiver,
Oh I shiver.


Seeing my reflection in this store front window,
I see those, gray skies, a car driving by sad song blaring on his stereo,
I take two steps back, run my fingers through my hair,
feel the breeze hear the rustling of the leaves,
those naked trees those poor naked trees,
look like the bones of my soul, naked inside of me.

Feel like those naked trees…….
Feel like those naked trees……
Feel like those naked trees.


STEPS TO NOWHERE (2010) - 10 original tracks - solo guitar instrumental
AMERICAN DREAM (2006) - 12 tracks, original songs, vocals and multi-instrumental
TOMORROW'S PERFECT PLAN (2004) - 12 track CD, vocals & guitar
A ROAD LESS TRAVELED (2001) - 14 track CD, all acoustic guitar instrumental
THE KINDNESS OF A STRANGER (1999) - 10 track CD, instrumental guitar w/3 vocal tracks
SONGS OF CHRISTMAS (2005) - 10 acoustic guitar instrumentals
GUITAR MASTERS (2007) Bohemian Productions, compilation CD includes a track by Carl Tosten and also features guitarists Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, Steve Morse, John Scofield, Pete Anderson and others.

Set List

Up to 120 minutes Solo Performance – combination of all original songs and/or instrumentals