“Rosenthal can draw you into his lyrics much the same way that James Taylor and Don Henley can”.
“Take Jackson Brownes’ personal confessions and wrap them in Kris Kristofferson’s world weary tales of broken relationships and you have an idea of what to expect from Tokyo Rosenthal.”
“This is Americana with real teeth in the lyrics”
This and more is what the critics are saying about Tokyo Rosenthal. But it wasn’t an overnight trip. Hardly, as “Toke” has spanned the music scene for three decades. But it’s most recently that recognition has finally reached him through the recording of his latest CD, “One Score And Ten”.
The song “Edmonton” off this album led to Rosenthal receiving the key to the city of Edmonton as an award for cultural and artistic contributions to Alberta’s capital city. This led to a month long tour of Canada this past Summer, TV and Radio appearances, and an opening slot for several nights in Toronto for Rock n Roll Hall of Famer and former Byrd and Burrito Brother Chris Hillman. Toke was personally picked by Chris to share the bill. He has also opened for the likes of America, Rick Roberts and Come On In My Kitchen in addition to headlining shows. His recent festival work includes The Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Carrboro Music Festival andTyler’s Americana Festival.
In a career that started with the country rock boom, Rosenthal has honed his craft and tooled his “rootsy, Americana with a little blues thrown in” sound to perfection. His recent move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina has allowed him to team up with the “master of the electric bass”, Alex Little on stage and famed producer and recording star Chris Stamey in the studio.
But prior to the move Rosenthal made his reputation while living in Rhode Island, New York, and Los Angeles. He headed such groups as the legendary Harpo and Slapshot and Treo Gato as well as his solo endeavors. This has helped the new CD receive radio airplay in the U.S. as well as Canada and radio stations in the UK and Europe are spinning Tokyo now too.
While content to let the critics compare his style to others Tokyo doesn’t hesitate to point out his influences, who include The Band, The Byrds, Gene Clark, Emmy Lou Harris, and believe it or not Janis Joplin. Toke’s version of “Piece Of My Heart” always sets off a crowd reaction.
As 2008 begins we see Tokyo Rosenthal recording a new single entitled “St. Patrick’s Day”, starting a Northeast US tour in New York on March 26th and planning a Europe tour for April. And of course playing all over North Carolina. Always writing and always gigging, his musical journey continues.
For further information visit www.tokyorosenthal.com and www.myspace.com/tokyor. And to purchase a copy of “One Score And Ten” go to www.cdbaby.com/cd/tokyorosenthal or iTunes.
AS SEEN ON CDREVIEWS.COM
December 6th, 2007Tokyo Rosenthal - One Score and TenPosted by editor in Alphabetical Listing, R
Edmonton’s adopted son evokes memories of Jackson Browne and Kris Kristofferson. -Michael Sutton
Take Jackson Browne’s personal confessions and wrap them in Kris Kristofferson’s world-weary tales of broken relationships, and you have an idea of what to expect from Tokyo Rosenthal. The North Carolina-based singer/songwriter has become somewhat of a popular figure in Edmonton, Canada for the track, “Edmonton.” However, Rosenthal is no mere novelty. And while his voice doesn’t sound like Browne’s or Kristofferson’s, his songwriting is cut from the same cloth. If this were the ’70s, Rosenthal would be on a major label, and none of these high-reaching comparisons are questioned whatsoever.
“Edmonton” will get the attention of his newly-formed fanbase but that’s far from the best tune here. The maturity and painful honesty of “Long Ago I Knew Someone Like You” and “You’re Dead to Me Now” hit the gut like a crowbar. Anybody who has experienced such profound heartache will not only be able to relate to Rosenthal but made to look back on what went wrong. “Now we sing a sad sad song/You stay at home alone and cry/I was not aware that could hurt me like this/Deep inside,” Rosenthal mourns on “Long Ago I Knew Someone Like You.” Those lines are not only delivered by a man who is old enough to have gone through a couple of personal hells but isn’t afraid to speak of his own mistakes. Rosenthal’s words have the immediacy and intimacy of a diary, one with a set of details. In “You’re Dead to Me Now,” Rosenthal sings, “Your card fell out as I was leaving/My pills fell from my tissue to the floor.”
Rosenthal is among the brightest lights in the Americana arena today. You simply do not see lyrics that are as poignant as this too often. Thankfully, the music is there to back it up. “My Reflection” uses the Doors’ “Break On Through” as a launching pad before erupting into electric fireworks. “What’s So Bad ‘Bout Bein’ Misunderstood” envelopes Rosenthal’s fireplace-warm vocals with jangling guitars and violins while “The End of My Rope” features lovelorn acoustic riffs that move the listener as much as Rosenthal’s painful words.
Once you listen to One Score and Ten, you won’t be playing anything else for a while.
AS SEEN ON SHOTGUN REVIEWS.COM
Tokyo Rosenthal - "One Score and Ten"
Posted October 21st, 2007 by Kyrby Raine
Categories: Kyrby Raine, The Kiosk (Pop/General Music), Music
If you think that songwriting died with the passing of Warren Zevon, then you need to hear Tokyo Rosenthal to reaffirm your faith in rock and roll as a literary vehicle. To the cynics out there, comparing an obscurity like Rosenthal to an icon such as Zevon may seem like the most bogus hyperbole. But this isn't bullshit. The only thing preventing that comparison from carrying legitimate weight is that nobody outside of Edmonton, Canada knows who the hell Rosenthal is.
Wait - Edmonton, Canada? Say what?
Rosenthal has written probably the only song dedicated to that Canadian city, and I'm sure the natives love him for it. "When I saw your eyes crying out/I can't explain/The ache and agony driving me/Turning my day into night/Made me fight to reach your soul," Rosenthal sings on "Edmonton." If you probe deeper, you'll see that Edmonton represents a man's search for emotional fulfillment. It can be about a lover as well as a place.
Rosenthal writes about relationships with a mature outlook that nonetheless doesn't find him wiser with age. He tries to forget an old flame on "Too Late for Me, Carolina?" but is unable to and on "The End of My Rope," he reaches his lowest point. "But true love/Won't wash away with soap," Rosenthal laments on "The End of My Rope," blending the perfect mix of melancholy and sarcasm.
This is Americana with real teeth in the lyrics.
AS SEEN ON WHISPERINANDHOLLERIN.COM
Whisperin & Hollerin UK
'One Score and Ten'
Label: 'Rock & Sock Records'
- Genre: 'Alt/Country' - Release Date: '2007'
Our Rating: * * * * * * * * * *
There's fake country music, and then there's Tokyo Rosenthal (http://www.tokyorosenthal.com). On "One Score and Ten," Rosenthal's voice is thrust into the front of the mix, and there's no need to figure out why. This man can truly sing. Not a flashy vocalist by any means, but Rosenthal can draw you into his lyrics in the much the same way that James Taylor and Don Henley can. You want to know what he's singing about because his voice captivates you. It's raw and in your face yet is in tune with the subtleties of human emotion. Rosenthal knows his limitations and how to harness his strengths. That's the sign of a true artist.
And, really, it doesn't get too much better than "One Score and Ten." In fact, this CD is among the year's best albums, no matter what the genre. Opening up with the sly Doors homage of "My Reflection" (wherein you will hear "Break On Through" haunting the flow of strummed guitars), Rosenthal already shows what he's capable of with his stunning way with words; there's a swagger in his delivery that takes command not only of the song but your attention as well. The guitar work on "My Reflection" is mesmerizing, too, as Rosenthal shifts from acoustic propulsion to an electric bonfire.
Rosenthal is a storyteller, and a fine one at that. The deceptively upbeat "You're Dead to Me Now" and "Long Ago I Knew Someone Like You" have emotionally stirring narratives, and even "Edmonton" can appeal to people who've never been there.
The production is clean and crisp throughout with an emphasis on Rosenthal's crystalline vocals.
author: Adam Harrington
as seen on shotgunreviews.com
An Interview with Tokyo Rosenthal
To answer your question: No, he isn't Japanese. In fact, Tokyo Rosenthal is about as American as can be, especially his music, which draws upon roots rock and country. Oddly enough, this American with a Japanese first name is probably most popular in Canada. It all makes for an interesting tale. But this story goes beyond that. Rosenthal is the among the best songwriters you haven't heard - yet. If this were still the '70s and actual artistic talent mattered in acquiring record-label deals, there would've been a bidding war for this man. His CD, One Score and Ten, is my favorite Americana release of 2007.
Kyrby Raine: How did you get the name "Tokyo"? Is that your real name?
Tokyo Rosenthal: My birth name is Arnie. Most everyone calls me "Toke." I got the name when I was boxing and needed a nickname. Johnny Carson was doing a comedy sketch about new TV shows that TV Guide forgot to review and one of them was a show about a Jewish Japanese detective named Tokyo Rosenthal, obviously a play on words from the old WWII character Tokyo Rose. Well, I grabbed the name thinking it was brilliant and I've been Tokyo ever since. Thanks Johnny!
Raine: You've gotten attention in Edmonton, Canada for the song of the same name. How did that come about? What was the inspiration for that tune?
Rosenthal: It was actually a long process. Initially I was just in a hotel room in Edmonton one night, feeling a little bummed out and the lyric, "Edmonton, you're alone tonight," kept swirling in my head but going nowhere musically. Later on that same trip I had a drink with a young single mom who I was working with. She was telling me about a bad relationship she was in and I told her, "Just slip out the back Jack, make a new plan Stan." Well, she gave me this blank stare and I soon realized that she had never heard [Paul Simon's] "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" so I said "you need an exit plan." Upon saying that I realized I had the next line for the song and she became Edmonton instead of me, euphemistically speaking. But while that helped me complete the lyrics the song was bogged down as a slow ballad. That all changed when I was playing this club in Stamford, Ct. that had adopted the Edmonton Oilers as their Stanley Cup team during the 2006 playoffs.It seemed that everytime I would play "Edmonton" the Oilers would score. Pretty soon they had me playing the song over and over during the playoffs and the song took on a whole different rhythm so that by the time I took it into the studio it had a totally different beat and edge to it. The rest is history. Soon it was on the radio in Alberta and I was getting the key to the city from the mayor for writing it.
Raine: How long have you been writing music and what made you start a rock and roll career?
Rosenthal: I began writing when I was just 14 and was signed as a writer with MCA at 20. I started playing music though when I was six on piano, later switched to the drums
when the Beatles arrived and made a slow transition to guitar by my mid teens. All I ever wanted to be was a musician and had some decent success through my mid-20s before venturing into television and commentating. During this time I never stopped playing but I wasn't writing and rarely gigging. About three years ago I started playing seriously again and writing. For some reason I found my writing considerably better than anything I'd done before. Maybe life experiences, maybe just patience, but it inspired me to drop everything and devote myself full time to music again and it's paid off. I'm happy.
Raine: Your lyrics strike me as very personal. Are they based on your life? If so, which one was the most difficult to write and why?
Rosenthal: Most of my lyrics are based on my life. "My Reflection," for instance, was about a woman I met that was the female me (boxer, guitarist, Italian/Jewish, commentator, New Yorker originally). "You're Dead To Me Now" were words I actually uttered to someone followed by a bizarre shuttle bus journey to the airport. "Edmonton" you now know about. "End Of My Rope" was uttered to me and is about a triangle
told from the woman's perspective. Almost everything on One Score and Ten is taken from my life experiences or feelings hence the title representing 30 years of life. But the toughest one to write hasn't been recorded yet. It's called "Good Night Carrie I'm
Coming Home." Just completed it's about my wife and it took me many years to write a song about her because I wanted it to be special and not contrived and it came
to me when I least expected it and thought I'd never find the words. She's inspired songs and lyrics before but never a whole song just about her.
Raine: What musicians had the biggest impact on you and how did they influence you?
Rosenthal: The Beatles were inspirational but didn't influence me musically. For whatever reason I gravitated to folk rock and country rock, blues, and roots music. So The Byrds, Burrito Bros, Paul Simon, and The Band were big in my life as are Emmylou Harris and The Indigo Girls and Kris Kristofferson. The Indigo Girls really sound to me like what some of my college groups would have grown into had we stuck together. Unplugged but able to rock and have soul. That's how I see my live act. Somewhere the blues factored in too. Probably Eric Clapton had something to with that but I go back to The Stones' version of "Confession the Blues" on 12×5. That song blew me away the first time I heard it. Finally the masters, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Chuck Berry. They all find their way into my music. Listen to the bridge of "Edmonton." "It's Buddy back from the grave," said my publisher Kenny Weiss when he heard it.