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Music Review - `Driven` by Artie Tobia (dm)

Artie Tobia - Driven   (click on image to watch video)

8 March 2019


Roger Len Smith Album -

Review of “Driven” by Artie Tobia


David Masciotra


Artie Tobia’s new record, “Driven,” is a musical gift that feels as necessary as your next meal. When too much country has become incoherent and too much rock and roll has become cowardly, Tobia muscles his way into the room, blasting through the door, only to add essential notes of grace. Tobia’s music offers a dramatic and thoughtful confrontation with the emotional edges of human experience. His voice is powerful – bring to ear and mind Bruce Springsteen and Gregg Allman – but he wisely complicates his blue-collar rock and roll with tender lyrics and surprisingly deft touches of instrumental and vocal dynamism.


The songs on “Driven” are simple and straightforward, but doo-wop style backup parts and the insertion of countermelodies rescue the record from generic status. As a songwriter, Tobia deftly evokes worlds of images and ideas – whether he is summoning his gravelly voice to reminisce about the glory days of his childhood in “Black Mustang,” or he is pouring his heart into a memory of falling in love at an Allman Brothers show in “Shine On, Baby.”



The latter is Tobia’s tribute to the great blues-rock jam band. Making the story about an evening of romance with a beautiful woman, set to the Allman Bros. music, is a demonstration of Tobia’s intelligence as a lyricist. Better than directly writing about the band, the story provokes one to consider the power of art, and how music, in particular, can establish landmarks in our lives.





 David Masciotra


David Masciotra ( is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).






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