Rootsy folk-rock American music
"Her singing is stunning, simply beautiful. Her songs are first rate, and her style crosses many genres"
- Mary Gauthier
Equal parts rootsy folk-rock with integrity, Americana, and pop, singer-songwriter Toni Catlin weaves
tales of heartache, acceptance and redemption and delivers them in a soulful, mellifluous voice that
suggests she's lived more than a few of her lyrics. Her inspirational songs reflect her strong and
independent nature, yet also convey a sense of vulnerability and authenticity that is refreshingly honest.
Her debut album Heartache on the Run released in 2001 features many of Nashville's top session musicians, but avoids the studio-sterile pitfalls and conjures more of an authentic band vibe. The song of surrender, "Me and My Heartache On The Run", was penned with Academy award nominated songwriter Gwil Owen and won the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest held at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC and joins past winners Gillian Welch and Lost Highway records signee Tift Merritt as alumnae. The quality of Toni's music was soon championed by music industry critics and mainstream press who raved at her unique ability to create graceful, unguarded and simply memorable songs that have no time or genre restraints. Heartache on the Run received rave reviews here and in the UK, and attracted fans within the industry and Toni's career has been steadily growing since.
Rewind the years. A Vermont native, Toni grew up performing for guests around the campfire at her parent’s rustic Adirondack resort with her older brother Bruce on mandolin. She started taking voice lessons at age 15 and sang in a high school musicals and an accapella group. Intrigued by the "California Sound" of the 70's she carefully studied the arrangements and vocal stylings of her idols Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt. Following graduation from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, Toni heard the call of the west and moved to Aspen, Colorado. Toni quickly formed a duo and soaked up the vibrant music scene and started to play out more frequently, quickly gaining confidence with every gig. She soon felt the tug of Los Angeles where many of her singer/songwriter idols got their start so she packed up and headed further west to completely immerse herself in the music scene. She took a job at the famous Complex Recording Studio, owned by the legendary recording engineer (and inventor of the parametric equalizer) George Massenburg. This gave Toni unprecedented access to many famous artists and she experienced all aspects of the songwriting and recording process while she continued to hone her own craft. She took a temporary job for a year at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado and it was there with staff credentials, that she met the likes of Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas and Shawn Colvin, and learned that much of the music she loved was coming out of Nashville. This was a turning point in her career where Toni realized she wanted to immerse herself in a music program so she returned to LA and graduated from the Musician's Institute. Upon graduation she moved to Nashville to focus on songwriting full time.
As a highly motivated independent artist paving her own path, Toni has achieved a lot in the last few years including opening shows for Shawn Colvin, Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, Nanci Griffith, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Chicago. During her 10 years in Nashville, many of her close friends and colleagues received major publishing and recording contracts but Toni saw the ups and downs of the music industry from an artist's perspective. She self-financed and recorded her first CD, Heartache on the Run in Nasvhille with producer Preston Sullivan. It caught the ear of promoter and producer Billy Block, who asked Toni to be on his indepent label Western Beat Records. From the momentum of excellent reviews and CD sales this paved the way to more a more performances and recording. She’s been a featured performer at Austin’s South by Southwest, Nashville’s Americana Conference, the Americana stage at Fan Fair, Billy Block’s Western Beat Showcases and at Tin Pan South. She has been featured on NPR’s the Songwriter Sessions, BBC’s London Live, Ralph McLean’s BBC Ireland broadcast, and is a favorite of London’s Bob Harris of BBC radio. Toni has toured England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Crete, Greece and has opened shows in the UK for Tift Merritt at the Borderline in London, BR549, and Allison Moorer. Paul Fenn of Asgaard Promotions in London quickly recognized Toni's talent and has called upon her to open shows for some of the artists he represents.
Toni’s current release Uncovered was produced by the Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist/producer Doug Lancio (Patti Griffin, Mathew Ryan, Gretchen Peters) and Thomm Jutz (Nanci Griffith, Sally Barris). Selections on the prolific new project are co-written with notable songwriters including Marcus Hummon, Duane Jarvis, Dave Coleman, John Kennedy, Dana Cooper, Warren Sellers, Walt Wilkins and Darin Pavone. Toni’s song "Deeper" was recently picked up by Grammy award winning producer, Bil Vordick and was featured on Nashville wunderkind Jonell Mosser's latest CD. Another cut off Uncovered entitled "Hallelujah" was picked up by fast rising Nashville star Misty Rae.
Toni recently relocated back to her home state of Vermont and currently writes for Matt Lindsey Music in Nashville who also represents the songs of Lee Roy Parnell, Tony Arata and others.