Toby Walters
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Toby Walters

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Once in awhile, you hear an artist that you just know is going to be big. Toby Walters is that somebody. Somewhere to Begin is nearly flawless. Somewhere is his third release, and that experience shows with a considerable level of intellect, artistry, and polish.

The album starts off with Glorious One, the perfect opener with a lot of energy and power. His voice seems almost retro at times, remeniscent of Hootie and the Blowfish (but better), and the variations in style mean Toby is appealing across many genres. The choice of openers is a very smart decision, the first of many.

Walters has a wonderful gift for hooks. Nowhere is that more evident than on Light My Way, the most radio-friend track on the album. It's only the length that will keep more tracks from radio play though FM stations would be wise to spin some of these quality-laden tracks. Light My Way could also have crossover appeal as well with the hook, "So in love with you."

In the power spot is Harlot's Prayer, well placed for continuity. There's a lot of theology here, wrapped up neatly and concisely in a moving piece. We've all played the harlot. Molly Jenson's backups certainly lend a sweetness to Toby's edge which comes across quite effective production-wise. This is "now" sound praise & worship style, and Prayer could be an excellent special music offering at a contemporary church service.

Ten Miles shows off the more alternative side of the band, with an ethereal vocal backed up by some incredible guitar work. You get the feeling that this is the inner-Toby, letting loose. This is not a filler and this song will stand out as ahead of its time. It's one that bears listening over and over again to get the full impact.

Walters manages to maintain continuity while giving the album plenty of variety. It's a delicate balance that is the undoing of so many; Somewhere to Begin has a "complete project" feel from beginning to end, with no hiccups.

The title track teases us that it's going to be a rock song, but it tapers off to Toby's excellent lead vocal with great tone, especially in the upper range. His storytelling in song shows a deep understanding of the Christian walk and a high level of intelligence. To interlink it with such a strong melody is just icing on the cake. Toby's songs so well capture the walk of those beyond that first love - they reflect the struggle to grow and mature. Somewhere to Begin leads well into the deeper Busy Man.

Busy Man is a song you ought to be listening to alone because it's very convicting. We can all relate to putting God into a box, not giving Him the proper time or Lordship of our lives. It's a message of depravity and redemption with guitars telling the story as well as the words. The falsetto at the end echoes the cry of the listener's soul; a cry of guilt and of gratitude. It ends with everything faded out but an acoustic guitar and the only lyrics that truly matter: "You cleanse me with Your Son's blood... again." Simply brilliant.

Coming off a song so deep and emotional as Busy Man is Everything to Jesus. This is one of the simpler tunes on the album, catchy and uplifting. It's radio-ready, with another strong hook and a steady beat that will have listeners singing it over and over. Different Day envelops the listener with a building wall of sound as the music captures you. The words are a bit engulfed at times, so you'll need the CD insert at first, but I promise you that you will enjoy the song more each time you replay the project.

Grace is a musical affirmation of the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice; it reminds us that His grace is more than enough to cover us. The album closes out with Faces, a beautiful alternative ballad that leaves you anticipating their NEXT project. This one will be difficult to top. Toby has a very unique sound, current but without sacrificing melody for the edge. Most of the songs are heavily produced, with great attention to detail. Even with the heavy production, they're not busy, but instead come together like a fine orchestra.

I don't know where to begin for any criticism of the album, but if there is any, it's that it's self-produced. Toby is a gifted producer and that shows, but producing yourself means that your perspective is a little different. Once in awhile, he drifts into a vocal tone that an outside producer probably would've made him reconsider. This is minor and nit-picky. The album is so close to perfection that it's difficult to find any areas for improvement. Somewhere to Begin is fresh and timeless at the same time. It's an album that won't gather dust on anyone's shelf.


- Paul Gentry


I love this CD! I’m blown away by the production quality and songwriting of Toby. The way he can move a song from a huge solo section down to a quiet interlude is epic. Toby is one of the most talented up and coming worship leaders in the country and has a true heart to see the church worship. This is evident in every song on his new CD.

Jeff McCullough
Producer/Engineer
(Big Mountain, Maranatha Music,
Something Like Silas,
Keith Jacobson, Phil Wickham)
- Independent Producer


Toby is truly a blessed man of God. I am blown away every time he leads me into worship. His talent in leading and songwriting is amazing. My heart is moved each and every time I get to experience his songs of worship.

Glenn Scott Jr.
Guitarist
(Beach Boys, Eric Clapton,
Chet Atkins, John Stamos)
- Guitarist-Beach Boys, Eric Clapton


I loved Toby’s new CD, Somewhere To Begin. I love the uniqueness of his voice. My favorite song has to be "Glorious One." It’s a great anthem for our modern worship culture. I was thrown off a little at first by the boldness of the lyrics, but it made me intently listen and made me think more deeply about our need for the Creator. There are some great points to be heard in the lyrics.

Trisha Wuich
Creative Director
Saddleback Church/Purpose Driven Ministries
- Saddleback Church


Being a worship pastor in a large church, I get hundreds of CDs mailed or handed to me for consideration every year. When I put Toby Walters’ CD, Somewhere To Begin, in the player and began to listen, I knew that he not only wrote music that connected with the culture, but connected me with the Creator. His vocal stylings are distinctive and the music is heart-felt and passionate. After meeting him, I found that the spirit of Toby’s music matched his personal spirit which is genuine and compelling. I would highly recommend Toby as a worship leader and a sensitive man of God.

Carlton Dillard
Songwriter/Recording Artist
Pastor of Creative Arts
Riverbend Church-Austin, TX
- Riverbend Church


The first thing that strikes you when listening to Toby Walters is his particular, distinctive vocal style. Like most memorable artists, Walters’ voice is rich with a passion and sense of drama that convinces you quickly of his convictions. It’s one of the more compelling reasons why Walters’ self-produced debut release -- Somewhere to Begin – should rightfully garner attention. The alternative rock stylings throughout provide a nice bed of guitar-riff-driven music that never overpowers and keeps the light on the worship-focused lyrics. The opener – “Glorious One” – immediately sets a stirring tone with its ebb and flow of praise and building choruses. The track is nicely augmented by Jeff McCullough’s accordion work and backing vocals from Molly Jenson. Several tracks later, Walters strikes gold again with the powerful “Harlot’s Prayer.” With its easy-to-grasp worshipful chorus, this song certainly matches anything being sung today in contemporary churches across the U.S. Other highlights can be found on the plodding rocker and title track “Somewhere to Begin” with its irresistible guitar riffs as well as the Coldplay-ish “Different Day” where Walters features some nice slide guitar and even a little falsetto to complement the vocals. Given that Walters himself produced and wrote the release as well as playing all guitars and piano, you have to take note that he’s a rising talent in the alternative rock worship community. It’s an impressive debut that not only demands a listen but should catapult this gifted young artist into a higher realm. - Michael Lyttle


Discography

Somewhere To Begin-2006 Independent release
SongSeeker-Purpose Driven Worship "Glorious One"
Song Discovery Volume 56 "Glorious One"
"Glorious One" and "Everything To Jesus" receiving regular airplay at www.lhcradio.com

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Bio

Born out of the alternative worship movement of the 90s, Toby Walters represents another link in a new generation of worship leaders. Toby started leading worship at a young age and felt a calling to full time music ministry. Working with talented producers and worship leaders, he began developing a sound for his ministry heavily influenced by alternative rock music. Over the next several years, Toby and his band got the opportunity to lead worship at hundreds of different churches and Christian events, including the Purpose Driven Worship Conference at Saddleback Church. Following his 3rd release, "Somewhere To Begin," Toby is looking forward to the future God has in store for him. Together with his band, Toby is working towards continued success in the modern worship culture. Toby and his band were recently voted as one of the top 5 Christian Artists in Austin, Texas by listeners of 102.3 The River, and placed 2nd in the 2007 Ignition Christian Music Conference in Austin.