Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely

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Toshi Reagon rocks on her Righteous Babe Records debut, Have You Heard

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On Have You Heard, Toshi Reagon calls the listener back to the heart of rock and roll with a voice overflowing with raw emotion. Reagon’s Righteous Babe Records debut is her sixth full-length album overall.

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Photo credits: Bernie DeChant

Toshi Reagon Toshi Reagon by Bernie DeChant Toshi Reagon by Bernie DeChant Toshi Reagon by Bernie DeChant

Photo credits: JOMOTO/Molly Rubin and Tony DiPietro

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Toshi Reagon by Sharon Farmer

The infectious energy of her live shows is captured on this studio album. “This record gathered a lot of my musical family together...these folks are amazing and have their own careers so we had to work hard and fast,” Toshi says. “It sounds like a bunch of musicians playing and singing together and that is what it is.”

Supporting her earthy tenor and amazing ability to bend the guitar strings are a few members of her live band BigLovely; Fred Cash on bass, Robert “Chicken” Burke on drums, Adam Widoff on guitar, and Catherine Russell on mandolin and vocals. Among the list of guest artists you’ll find Marc Anthony Thompson of Chocolate Genius who adds harmonica and vocals to the sultry, groove-driven “22 Hours”. “I’m a huge groupie—when I heard one of his CD’s I tracked him down just to tell him I love him; he will be on every record I make for the rest of my life,” Toshi explains.With her all-star players behind her and producer Craig Street (Me’Shell NdegeOcello, kd lang, Joe Henry, Cassandra Wilson) and mixer Elliot Mazer (Santana, Neil Young) at the helm, Have You Heard drives deep into your soul.

Says Street,“She is one of the most talented singer/guitarist/drummer/songwriters that I’ve ever had the pleasure of collaborating with, and for me falls into that category of anytime, anyplace. When Toshi calls, I am available.”

From her rock platform Toshi easily jumps from funk to country, spirituals to folk, taking any style, updating it and making it her own with ease. Genre bending is her specialty—take the gospel-tinged fingerpicking melody “Have You Heard” or the soft balladry of “You,” the funky “OOH WEE” or the original interpretation of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”. As the New York Times raves,“Ms. Reagon’s music originates in her love of mixing things up...[her] vocal style ranges from a dirty blues moan to a gospel shout to an ethereal croon.”

An uncompromising brew of artistic exuberance and exceptional musical talent, Have You Heard can work as the soundtrack to a house party or an introspective walk in the park. It’s been 15 years since Toshi Reagon broke on the NYC music scene with her debut album and her latest is proof that her star is still rising.

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