For 15 years, from 1992 to 2007, Toni Price played every Tuesday night at the Continental Club in Austin. After a two year stay in San Diego where she came back one Tuesday every month to do a gig, she came back to Austin and she took up the weekly Hippie Hour tradition at the Continental. So far she has kept on playing Hippie Hour for 21 years.
Toni Price is one of the many artists in Austin who the rest of the world don’t know much about, but who definitely deserves more attention. She has never been one to self-promote, being quite happy about living a quite life and performing her regular gig and other gigs when asked. To the rest of us, that’s a pity, but for her it’s the best way.
She comes from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, but moved to Nashville to be part of the music scene there. After a while she felt that the rigid music business rules of Nashville became more of a constraint. She was invited to play one of the first SXSW festivals in 1989, and liked the town and the fans so much that she moved there. Here she soon became an active part of the music scene. She released her first CD Swim Away in 1993, and Hey, two years after.
Hippie Hour, as her Teesday concert is called, is a special event. Toni Price usually performs sitting down, and tonight she had three acoustic guitarists as her accompaniment. On of them is Warren Hood, the son of her long time fellow musician Champ Hood, and Warren has taken up the tradition from his deceased father on fiddle and guitar. The two other guitarists are also more than competent, going in and out of accompaniment and solos.
Her set consists of new and old songs, mostly old ones. Her singing style often reminds of Bonnie Raitt and she is just as easily at home in blues, Rhythm and Blues and singer songwriter stuff. In many ways she also reminds me of Delbert McClinton in that she doesn’t write her own songs, but she makes the songs she sings her own, and both of them have great voices.
Toni Price has a strong and clear voice, and the audience at the Continental Club love her. I would not be surprised if many of them have seen her every Tuesday since she started. There is sing-along on most of her songs, and the general atmosphere is in the true hippie spirit.
Last year she released a new CD, Toni Price Cherry Sunday Orchestra, 5 years after her latest, Talk Memphis. If I should recommend some CDs of Toni Price, I would go for Talk Memphis and Lowdown & Up as a good entry to her musical world. Her show at the Continental Club is every Tuesday early, and is a great opportunity for some great singing and playing together with the best people of South Austin.