For Immediate Release

Live Performance

Hailing originally from Georgia, Michael Tobias is a singer, guitarist, & harmonica player who performs American Roots Music & Originals. His unique and timeless interpretations of blues & jazz standards, ragtime, folk, bluegrass, old-time country, and spirituals breathe life into America’s rich tradition of music.

The residue of Tobias’ Southern upbringing seeps heavily into his deep fried Americana wiles and blues-forged soul, as he pens honest and country-grown lyrical tales that serve as a bridge to his labyrinth of instrumental day tripping. Very similar to one Dave Mathews, Tobias will lay out a few verses of song almost as an appetizer to feasts of calculated mayhem with the axe.

A live performance from Michael Tobias is a cruise through uncharted waters, often breaking songs out of their molds in controlled chaos of exploration and evolution. It takes about 90 seconds of seeing Michael Tobias play to realize the resounding scope of his skill, strumming with the hands of a surgeon on amphetamines and at a pace that would leave a humming bird dizzy.


At its best, American music synergizes multicultural influences. Over time the interweaving of culturally diverse musical styles gradually culminated into Jazz, one of our countries finest artistic achievements. Michael Tobias’ Original music is deeply influenced by the Blues – our true national song & the joyous, open hearted inclusiveness of rhythmically swinging Jazz.

The unbridled diversity behind Tobias’ music can easily be traced back to his melting pot roots, with bloodlines from Hungary, Poland, the American steel workers of Pittsburg, to a great-great-great Grandfather who fought in the American Civil War, a great Grandmother who was a Romani gypsy princess, a Grandfather who played slide trombone in the times of the Great Depression, a mother who was taught to play classical piano at Catholic school under threat of being struck on the hands with a ruler, and a father who was a hairstylist who owned two salons that were known to be ethnically sundry hangouts.

Growing up in Georgia provided Tobias with ample opportunities to experience first hand one of the region’s great musical traditions: The Blues. In Atlanta you can still find joints like Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, where on any given night of the week, you’ll hear smokin’ hot guitar slingers & blues singers. As soon as Tobias could drive, he would head out to those blues hot spots where a minor could get in. Spellbound, he would watch & listen, soaking it all in.

At age thirteen, the first instrument Tobias ever bought with money made while mowing lawns was a vintage red Gibson ES 335, just like Chuck Berry’s. The second, purchased with money earned while flipping burgers at Johnny Rockets, was a Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier, the kind Stevie Ray Vaughn used to plug into. Both pieces remain central to his performance today

The Making of “High & Low”

The path of love, loss and life that led to Tobias’ first full-length release of Originals, “High and Low,” is as intriguing to sort out as the kaleidoscopic array of musical & cultural influences that make up this diverse singer and multi-instrumentalist. The much anticipated result is perfectly indicative of his approach to making music: Richly textured, poignantly crafted, distinctly flavored, emotionally combustive and just wild enough to launch his listeners on a twisting fan boat ride through his own personal sonic swamp.

Tobias credits engineer Justin Phelps of Portland, Oregon as “The Guru” of the album for his help bringing it from a travel-worn box of analog tapes to the polished album it is today. Phelps has engineered over 200 albums with the likes of Cake, the Neville Brothers, Dead Kennedy’s, Mars Volta, and Joe Satriani. The album also features engineering work by Jaimeson Durr of San Francisco’s legendary Hyde Street Studios where such names as Credence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead, Santana, and Jefferson Airplane all recorded.

The album took nearly three years to complete, forged out of good times, heartaches, a box of two-dozen master cassette tapes, a throwback 4 track recorder, some flying sparks of creative ingenuity and plenty of highs & lows.

Tobias is currently performing American Roots Music standards and his Originals at live shows throughout Northern California.

To check out live performance videos, listen to Michael Tobias’ American Roots & Original music and for more information on upcoming gigs visit:

* This press release is a compilation of reviews and articles written by Aaron Davis, Sacramento Concerts Examiner & Special to the Sacramento Bee.