I’ve been listening to Artie Tobia since his first independently released CD, The Parade (2001) and am glad to see my friend becoming more polished with each record, yet maintaining his heartfelt connection to his audience. He recently sent me Driven, a CD which will release soon. The CD and the upcoming tour with his band, will feature the original ATB rhythm section, Stuart Stahr and Mark Bridgeman, joined by Fuzz on guitar, Cyrus Maden on organ/piano and Tracy James on background vocals. Additional players include Brent Pruner on guitar, Sara Milanovich on fiddle, Adam Kotok on mandolin, Joe Mennonna on accordion/harp. Chris Brown on baritone background vocals. The songs bring back memories of the Waterboys, Hothouse Flowers or more recently, fellow independent Rod Picott. Artie has been playing and singing for a long time now and is comfortable in his own skin. “I started out scared as all hell the first time I played in public. "Fronting" the band, I didn't move one step from the mic stand and never let go of it either, for the entire time we played. My first cover bands were classic and southern rock with a fair mix of the blues,” Artie said. “I developed my craft as a writer further, upon discovering and being influenced by some of the great Texas songwriters. In finding my voice in stories full of characters from everyday life my lyrics came to the forefront of my songs.” With each spin his influences become obvious — Allman Brothers, SRV, Springsteen, Eagles, Mellencamp, and Bob Seger. My personal favorites off Driven are “Still haunts Me,” “Drops of Rain,” and the longer, rocker “Devil’s Roulette.” Artie is above all else a storyteller, and as you listen — learn you are not alone. “You want to know who I am? Listen to my lyrics. I am right there hiding in plain sight. See if you can figure out who I am ...,” Artie said.