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

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

 20 March 2019



The title of Artie Tobia’s fifth album, Driven, couldn’t be more perfect: the songs range from cars and his love of them (“Black Mustang”), and the love that drives him (“Phoenix”) to one of the musical influences that continues to drive him (“Shine on Baby”). Tobia’s gritty vocals growl on the rockers on the album but turn tender on the more reflective tunes. 

Driven opens with “Black Mustang,” a Springsteen-like rocker that looks back fondly on one of his favorite cars—a ’64 Mustang. The song celebrates the freedom of the road, even as it celebrates the happiness of watching his father drive the car and then eventually, many years later, watching his own children driving a Mustang. Maybe the most poignant song on the album is “Shine on Baby,” a tribute to the Allman Brothers. The aching guitars in the opening bars drench the song with mournful, yet celebratory, beauty. The singer recalls a night with his lover at an Allman Brothers concert; when she sings the words to every song with him, he knows for sure she will always be his lover, and he sings her praises with words from the Allman Brothers songs: “That’s when I knew she was my blue sky/I knew she would always be my one way out/We’re like two midnight riders on the road that goes on forever.” 

The straight-ahead rocker “Caller 102” features a Dick Dale-like lead on the first bridge and captures the frantic, jangly enthusiasm of a fan trying to get through to a disc jockey to be the right caller (number 102) to win tickets to meet and greet his favorite artist. “Phoenix” opens and closes with an a cappella chorus that sandwiches a sonic pop song driven by cascading guitars and Tobia’s playfully earnest lyrics to a lover: “I want to find a way to the get the impossible done/Like a phoenix from the ashes, I will rise, rise up to the sun.” 

Driven propels us down the backroads and scenic highways of our lives, flying down the straightaways with abandon and leaning into the curves with loving care.


 Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.


Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.





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