Thursday, Feb 19
TONEY ROCKS IN THE RADIO ROOM
"Just imagine if Pink Floyd went Blues..."
7:30pm, KAFM Radio Room - 1310 Ute Avenue
It wasn’t an easy thing, moving from the
drums to the guitar, but Toney Rocks had to do it.
He grew up in Hampton, Va., and his mother’s status as a performer opened doors in the area’s club scene. He started out behind the drum kit, but after almost a decade, he was ready to switch it up.
“The reason I never played guitar as a kid was because I was intimidated by the strings, but I had this sound I wanted to get out,” Rocks told The Daily Times recently. “I had gotten burned out on drums, and I figured I had to figure out something, or I was going to go crazy. I knew I didn’t want to be a bass player, and I didn’t have the confidence to just stand up there and sing, and I didn’t want to sit behind the piano. So I started my own band, and I started playing guitar, and the blues just kept coming out.”
There are flourishes of Robert Cray and Keb’ Mo’ to what Rocks does, but he’s doesn’t limit himself to a particular pigmentation when it comes to his playing — meaning he’s not a stereotypical black blues musician.
He draws equally on forebears like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Bonamassa, and his experience as a kid hearing his mother sing R&B and soul gets thrown into the mix as well, he said.
“I’d say maybe 60 percent of what I do comes from having that experience and listening to Curtis Mayfield and Bobby Womack and Al Green and the Staple Singers — and even further along, the Temptations and Smokey Robinson and even gospel and Prince,” he said. “It’s in there, and I can’t get it out. My mom had all those records.”
His shows run the gamut — from fun material made for dancing, like “Ain’t Gonna Laugh” — “It’s about moving too fast in relationships, because my last one was hell on wheels, man,” he said with a laugh — to more serious subject matter, like the homelessness he addresses on the song “Miss You,” which is dedicated to a friend who died on the streets. “He was killed one night because he couldn’t make it to the shelter before they locked the doors,” Rocks said. “I wrote it thinking about homelessness and what it means to be a man working two jobs and struggling.”
East Tennesseans get a double dose of Toney Rocks on Friday — at noon on the WDVX-FM “Blue Plate Special” and that night at Brackins Blues Club in Maryville. East Tennessee is receptive to what he does, he said ... as long as he doesn’t have to get too specific about what his music sounds like. “I usually say ‘progressive blues-rock,’ and nobody knows what the heck I’m talking about,” he said. “So mostly I say, ‘Just imagine if Pink Floyd went blues.’ I think that’s pretty close.”
Check out Toney Rock’s music at http://www.toneyrocks.com/. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door and may be purchased by calling (970) 241-8801, Ext 0 or online at www.kafmradio.org. The Radio Room is located at 1310 Ute Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
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