Tonchi McIntosh
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Tonchi McIntosh

Brunswick, Victoria, Australia

Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
Band Folk Acoustic

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"Bridges-"

“McIntosh was born in England, grew up in Bourke NSW and has Mexican blood running through his veins on his Mother's side. He sings, his voice full of warmth and emotion, of Australia with a clear-sighted passion for the land and its traditional owners, moving from acoustic folk/rock to electric and touches of reggae and country. This mixture of musical forms enfolds his lyricism, and nowhere is this more in evidence than in the stunning ballad Give It All Away (Che), on his debut CD ‘Bridges’
One of McIntosh's strengths is the meshing of imagery, be it allegorical or as raw and rich as the red earth of the outback. It gives his music an originality, that in Australia, is something to savour".
Warwick McFadyen, The Age ****
- The Age, Melbourne


"Bridges"

“These songs have lots of blue sky in them. Beneath that is a broad red land and somewhere in between is a light strong voice with sun in it. Tonchi McIntosh is that rarest of things, an original”
Martin Flanagan, The Age
- The Age, Melbourne


"Bridges"

Tonchi McIntosh - Bridges

Obvious strains of influence: Shane Howard, Paul Kelly, Ben Lee

Tonchi McIntosh, or just Tonchi as he is now known, presents a debut album of interest and eloquence, filled with bravura, youthful memories and the fire of hindsight. All the tracks feature lush arrangements, and a clear production by producer Shane Howard lends a simplicity to the album that belies the level of song-crafting contained therein. Tonchi's song-writing is subtle but direct, and honestly depicts life the way he sees it, or would like it to be seen. The musicians on Bridges are excellent, and contribute neatly to the whole. Living in the rural 'heart' of Australia's outback (He was raised in and around Bourke), Tonchi draws on themes that have informed him, and helped shape his life and sense of identity. That identity is quintessentially rural/semi-urban Australian. The title track for the album, "Bridges", lets us know what his business is about, and he gets to the quick of it by asking the listener if they have ever experienced that aspect of Australian life outside of the supermarkets, TV stations, Americana, drive-time radio, peak-hour traffic, cafe society, urban hell, posing have you "ever been woken by black cockatoos on the banks of the Darling? (Oh, no. No?)" His reply is an attempt to reconcile the differences between his two sides of Australian cultural life, "Then we can talk/ Cross the room and talk/ No nothing can start/ While these bridges they burn." 'Bridges' is full of this type of imagery and allusion, and at times it becomes repetitive, yet that is the nature of things when they remain unresolved. I can't agree entirely with Tonchi's polarisation on what represents 'real' Australia, as it is a subjective thing. I'll wager that Tonchi's never seen the sun come up over the Pieman River, but that doesn't make him any less Australian, or, as Paul Kelly says in an earlier question about issues of identity, "have you ever seen Sydney from a 727 at night (oh-oh yeah)." To Kelly, it's a beautiful sight. It is too simplistic and one-sided to make this into an issue of 'us and them', of split history, of 'bush and urban', or of the ignorant white-fella cultures, and our relationship with the land and its peoples. The stereotypes only work if you exclude certain aspects or realities of Australian life. Tonchi doesn't seem to set out to do this, but I think he falls into the trap of post-colonial rhetoric at the expense of the whole truth. He remains, however, true to his vision. That vision is of a singer-songwriter obsessed with the plight of his Australia and its peoples, as the themes of ordinary Australians is played out against multinational 'big Australians', both old ("Kidman") and new (BHP - now Bluescope Steel in "Mayfield"), an Australia where companies and farmers walk away from the land, where colonial infarction has eaten a hole in the 'heart' of the country, a place where Aboriginal culture is usurped, ignored, or destroyed wholesale losing so much that would help us in our present global warming days. Tonchi loves asking questions, very pertinent ones at that, and helps bring to the forefront the matter of what we are sacrificing for short term gain, and what we might stand to achieve if we chart a different course and plan longtime.

The standout track for me on the album is one of a whole lot of standout tracks. "Give it all Away" is simple, elegant and full of imagery that in a line or two wraps up so much world history. It is a loving song, in contrast to a love song, and describes the yearning to be there when it happens, to experience - even for a moment - what it's like to be in the presence of an altruistic human being; as opposed to say a moment by Geneva from "Big Brother", the mighty and the truly vacuous.

Buy Tonchi McIntosh's "Bridges" and learn some new ways to cross them. - review by Tigdh O'Glesain for indie-cds.com 2005
- www.indie-cds.com


"Firestone"

Tonchi Macintosh and Andrew Hull - Firestone

Australian stories written and sung by one of the better of the current crop of Australian songwriters - and that's a major compliment considering the depth of talent on offer just now. "What a groove! This set will get you bopping, smiling and grinning with its intentional and joyous heart. Everyone on this CD loved what they were doing. It’s infectious. You’ll love it too.

Once you’ve taken in the clever arrangements and playing the songs have a soul of poetry in their lyrics. These are stories worth unraveling. The intensely live feel of the performance is enhanced by a surprising wash of atmospheric sounds. It’s a unique vibe, which holds your concentration. The whole effect is to commit the listener to a journey you’ll be glad you took. The stories are richly Australian, smack of wonderful originality which emanates from McIntosh and Hull. But this is not a parochial experience. The journey has resonance for the world. The busy texture of some tracks might overwhelm the vocal. However there is a clear awareness of the need to keep the vocal stable when everything else if so lively. This keeps the story intimate and richly present. A very clever understanding of their music is quite apparent in the delivery of each gem of song and music. You’ll play it a few times before you take it all in. The effort and reward for your patience is a CD experience that enlightens you.

Highlight tracks (1) River Roads, (2) Fire Stone and (5) World of Men." - review by Ian Paulin for indie-cds.com 2005
- www.indie-cds.com


"Dick Gaughan rave"

None other than the great Scottish singer Dick Gaughan had this to say about Tonchi: "This time in Melbourne, the night was opened by a younger Australian singer with whom I've worked before, Tonchi McIntosh, whose background is half Scots, half Mexican, but he is 100% Australian and he's just getting better all the time. His songs are about Australia and the first time I heard him I thought, "Thank you, I understand the soul of Australia a bit better after listening to you." Well worth going out of your way to hear." Gaughan went on to say that his fears of the future when he and his ilk are "retired or dead" were allayed in that "with people like Tonchi McIntosh we have nothing to worry about." - www.dickalba.demon.co.uk


Discography

Tonchi- 'Bridges'- TMC001 Independent 14 track CD produced by Shane Howard, released 2002.

Firestone- Tonchi McIntosh & Andrew Hull, Independent 8 track CD, self produced, released 2003

Gallipoli- Tonchi McIntosh, Independent 6 track EP CD
limited release April 2004

Pomegranates and Peppercorn Trees- The Lonely Horse Band- Independent release 2007, 11 track- Living history of NSW outback town Nymagee in spoken word and original songs

Underground- The Lonely Horse Band- Independent release 2008 2 CD set- Living history of NSW outback town White Cliffs in spoken word and original songs

Photos

Bio

Work on Tonchi's third solo album is well advanced and is programmed for release in the first half of 2009.
His city muse has injected a whole new element into Tonchi's music by way of his partnership with MC Jeazed a young beatbox and freestyle rap artist. Its a whole new approach which is winning fans wherever they perform. The idea of acoustic guitar, beatbox and vocals is a whole new thing and two tracks from his forthcoming album are included in this EPK- 'Evolution' and 'Mums are never Wrong', the later written for and in honour of Cindy Sheehan, the Californian mother who had the strength to stand up and shout loud after she lost her son in the Iraq war.
Biography-
Melbourne based singer songwriter Tonchi McIntosh was raised near Bourke, NSW, Australia on a cattle property alongside the Darling River in a multicultural family with strong music traditions. His Mexican/ Scottish heritage and the isolation not only shaped his music from an early age, but also gave him his unusual moniker. Music filled his time when he wasn't helping on the farm or walking through the Polygonum swamps and River Gums soaking in the bush, fishing for the Murray Cod or enticing a big blue yabby from the billabongs.
Around campfires of gidgee coals where stories are retold he first got a taste for performing, and through family friendships and visits to the remote communities of the local area, Walgett, Weilmoringle, Enngonia and Brewarrina, he came to know the indigenous love for their country.
The human and physical landscape of Australia would inspire his writing.

"Have you stood on a black soil plain and smelt the rain coming? Been woken by black cockatoos on the banks of the darling? Seen the scars of the Coolamon tree? Tasted honey from the wild bee? Then we can talk..." (Bridges - title track)

His first bands took rock and roll the length and breadth of western NSW from Wilcannia to Broken Hill, White Cliffs and Menindee. Out in the hard Bad Lands with a '79 strat and a Vox AC30 he did his apprenticeship and discovered that songs were everywhere.

Moving to the coal and music rich seam of Newcastle in the Hunter valley to go to university he soon realised that telling stories on stage was what he wanted to do. With Deb Sisson & Mark Wenitong, Roger Felleti, Simon Houstin, Jason Coe, Dig, K-man, and Joel Wenitong they formed a reggae/ hip hop/ cultural outfit called 'Talkin Story' that became known as a dance band with an ear to the earth, playing the National Campus Band Comp finals for a couple of years and the seedy dance halls of industrial Newie. The stories of the city and the experiences of everyday Australians soon caught his ear, including the "greedy, gutless and ungrateful" (quote by Newcastle City Council) closure of the long time major local employer, the giant steel maker BHP.

"Its a Mayfield misty morning under a sulphur crested sky, the mighty big Australian once made us mighty proud. They employed my father and my father's father too but now I am left wondering what the hell am I to do. I bore my share of burdens on a back built big and strong. I stirred the pot I towed the line but I never done no wrong. I wont be remembered as someone who pulled the pin, I'll sleep at night while management they let the demons in... You've got to share the cake..." (Mayfield - Bridges)

In '97-'98 Tonchi went to work with Koori and Murri indigenous youth conducting songwriting workshops & showing them how to set up sound gear and learn their favourite tunes. In no time they were writing their own songs, singing about the things they love. A good old Tascam 4 track recorded their 3 min rap. It became clear that the invasion of hip hop thug life and the associated subculture of clothes and gangs played second fiddle to the culture of their families: local language, waterholes, bush foods and friends. Using music to connect with indigenous youth is a sure way to foster pride, achievement and many community benefits. It is a way for youth to have their voice heard. It is a snapshot of life... real folk music. Tonchi has since recorded many songs from communities in Far North Queensland, South Victoria, NSW, and most recently Derby WA, including unrecorded country songs that have been performed in the outback communities for many years.

Demand for a recording of his own songs was growing so in late 1999 with family finances, Tonchi travelled to Warrnambool Victoria with friends to record his first album ‘Bridges’. Shane Howard produced what reviewers have described as
"... acoustic folk/rock to electric and touches of reggae and country. This mixture of musical forms enfolds his lyricism... a meshing of imagery, be it allegorical or as raw and rich as the red earth of the outback...an originality, that in Australia, is something to savour" (Warwick Mcfadyen, The Age)

Bridges was followed quickly in 2003 by the fascinating and self produced ‘Firestone’ a collaboration with his childhood friend, Bo