"LOVE WON OUT" REVIEW AS SEEN ON USA TODAY/BNN
CD Review: Love Won Out by Tokyo Rosenthal
Posted on October 29th, 2008
by Simon Barrett in Music Reviews, Reviews
Hardly a day goes by when I am not surprised by the music industry. There are so many great artists, and yet so little time to admire them, and even less time to discover new ones. Great artists are everywhere, the problem is, how do you find them in the ‘white noise’ that the mass media immerses us in? I would say I go looking, but that isn’t the truth, it comes and finds me. Love Won Out certainly is in that category, it found me, and I am damn glad it did!
With a name like Tokyo Rosenthal, I had the image conjured up in my mind of someone vaguely Japanese, with maybe some Jewish influence! Well I was wrong, but there again I am often wrong. What did surprise me though was that this barrista of Americana has been on the music scene for three decades and I had never heard him before. Even stranger, last year he had a big hit with his song Edmonton. At the time I was living in Alberta’s other major city Calgary about 150 miles away. The story goes that Tokyo is a bit of an Ice Hockey fan, and Edmontonians adopted Tokyo’s song as the Oiler’s pursued their quest for Sir Stanley’s Cup.
Love Won Out is a delightful journey into the land of story songs with an acoustic guitar accompaniment. I love to pigeon hole musicians, to give them labels, to put them neatly in the filing cabinet! I swore that I would never do this, but I do! Tokyo is a bit of an odd bird, there are so many musical influences that permeate his songs that the review would likely just result in a long list of just about every solo artist I have ever liked.
Kicking off with Saint Patrick’s Day, we get a glimpse into Tokyo’s wide repertoire. This is a light soft rock ballad, with some complex musical arrangements behind it. This is a classic song waiting to be discovered. In some ways this one song sums up Tokyo’s style. At first listen it is simplistic, but when you listen again you start to pick up the nuances and the complexities of this composition. Each time I listened to this track I found something new and fun.
Track three Little Poetry Girl, is right out of the Donovan play book. In fact had I not known that this was Tokyo Rosenthal, I would have bet a dollar on it being from Donovan. The meter, and word smithing and deliverance are identical, maybe I was hearing things, but I could have sworn that there was some harmonica in there as well! Of course there is one major difference, Donovan has long since distanced himself from his fans. I tried for months to get an interview with him, finally, via a third party I got a “He doesn’t do interviews”. I suspect that Tokyo is much more approachable.
I Care If You Do (track 5) is a journey down the country lane, with a slightly bluegrass and slightly hillbilly feel about it. This is the kind of song that you would expect to find on CMT with a great video in support.
Love Won Out (track 7) takes us in yet another musical direction, with what sounds like a slide guitar, this track screams blues, blues, blues at you! You can check this one out for free, and who doesn’t like free?
How has this great musician stayed under the radar for so long? That is a complex question and one that I could apply to so many great artists. The world is jam packed with great musicians, yet what is rammed down our throats on TV and Radio is what big media wants, it has little to do with what the consumer wants.
Take my advice, and I am old and jaded! Take ‘Toke’ out for a spin, this is a no lose proposition.
Rumor has it that he is pretty much permanently on tour, so check out his web site and see if he is coming to your town.
Love Won Out can also be ordered through Amazon.
Great CD, this one gets five stars from this old and jaded reviewer. It is so good to find something new and refreshing. Watch out Toke, you just came on the radar!
For immediate release:
TOKYO ROSENTHAL'S "LOVE WON OUT" BREAKS INTO THE CHARTS!
Rock & Sock Records was pleased to announce today that recording artist Tokyo Rosenthal's latest CD, "Love Won Out" has broken into several key rating charts worldwide.
The first to acknowledge Rosenthal's airplay was the very prestigious Euro Americana Chart.(Euro Americana Chart)
This chart is exclusive to Europe and the United Kingdom. "Love Won Out" ranked number eleven(11) on the November chart. The chart is compiled from over 60 Disc Jockeys and critics throughout Europe.Lucinda Williams placed number one and Bob Dylan was number 6 so "Toke" is in good company.
"Love Won Out" also broke into the highly respected FAR Chart which is compiled from radio people primarily in the United States and Canada with some input from Europe as well.FAR charts are compiled from reports sent in by actual DJs with free form(ie. no play lists)radio shows. Over 130 DJ's submit their choices. On this chart Rosenthal's new CD ranked number fourteen(14).
"To be on the same chart with people like Rodney Crowell,Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, and Buddy Miller just gives me goose bumps," said Rosenthal. "These are my idols. That being said I'm really pleased that so many DJ's and music experts in the US and abroad like my recordings enough to rank them along side all these top artists. I'm truly honored and don't take these rankings lightly.I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Chris Stamey and Alex Little for all their help in making 'Love Won Out' a winner."
Rosenthal just returned from a successful tour of Holland and the Northeast U.S. and heads for Texas on November 13th for a week long tour, including The World United Music Festival in San Marcos.
For more information about Tokyo Rosenthal and where to see him live visit www.tokyorosenthal.com. To purchase "Love Won Out" go to www.cdbaby.com/cd/tokyorosenthal3.
TOKYO ROSENTHAL BIO
“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 last 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. He’s also set to headline World Music United 2008 in Austin this November.
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, The Indigo Girls, Gene Clark, Emmylou Harris, and believe it or not Janis Joplin. Toke’s version of “Piece Of My Heart” always sets off a crowd reaction.
In 2008 we see Tokyo Rosenthal releasing a new CD entitled “Love Won Out” that features the single “St. Patrick’s Day”. He completed a Northeast US tour in March and a UK tour in April. In August he toured Japan and he debuts in The Netherlands in October. November sees Toke back in New York City and then making a “Heartland” tour from North Carolina to Texas and back. And of course he’s always 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.