World in the World
Victory Review, March 2004 by Bill Fisher 'This kind of a delicious eclectic gumbo, mixing an extraordinary variety of mucical styles, all reinforcing very positive, often spiritual themes. Tobias, a gifted songwriter with many talents, attracts a wonderful group fo associates in this project -not least- Maxxine, whose playing infects most of the songs with a high and happy energy. 'Blessings,' a boucy opening song provides just what it promises. 'Narrow Bridge/Tree of Life' manages to combine reggae and a Klezmer edge. 'Where is the Peace?' moves through a gentle reggae vibe and many seeming lullabyes and plaintive prayers follow. I don't think you had to live through the rebirth of the 1960s to enjoy this celebration of peace and diverse cultures. Most will simply enjoy and find a quiet home in the music that has resulted in the music that has resulted from Rob Tobias's profound, creative life journey. Rob Tobias is a contemporary singer/songwriter and recording artist influenced by folk, blues, reggae, country, and Jewish roots music. Tobias has his own stamp of originality that is both familiar and distinctive. His first album, 'Constant Rain' released in 1994, features several swing blues tunes as well as a small choir singing backup on some of the songs. 'Bagel Roots & Water Dogs,' released in 1998, with more of an acoustic folk sound but also exploring a variety of styles including swing blues, reggae, and rock. The next CD, 'Sparks,' released in 2000, lyrically reflects an interest in Jewish renewal and a song cycle inspired by Jewish celebrations. The latest release, 'World in the World', features Rob's collaboration with an extraordinary flute player named Maxxine. Exploring themes of peace, justice, love, family, and Jewish roots, the CD is uplifting and harmonious. Rob sings and plays keyboard, guitar, harmonica, and percussion on the recordings and is also backed by his talented 'friends.' Rob Tobias has performed at national conferences such as CAJE (Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education) and the Kallah (Jewish Renewal) and has also played harmonica with Peter Himmelman at one of his Eugene concerts. Rob performs with his group, Rob Tobias and Friends at clubs, bookstores, community centers, Jewish celebrations, and festivals such as Northwest Folklife (Seattle), The Willamette Valley Folk Festival (Eugene), and The Oregon Country Fair (Veneta). Rob Tobias grew up in Wyoming, Ohio (near Cincinnati) and graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Rob moved to Eugene, Oregon where he studied music, video production, audio production, and photography at the University of Oregon and at Lane Community College where he received an associates degree. Rob does audio and video work through his company Maximo Productions and teaches songwriting workshops. Rob is also a member of Eugene Playback Theatre in which he improvises music while actors play back life stories from the audience. Whether performing with a group, solo, or as an arts educator, Rob projects enthusiasm, energy and spirit.