Toni Price is Austin’s blues rock goddess
There aren’t many singers who have been compared to both Patsy Cline and Bonnie Raitt. But Austin-based singer Toni Price hears that comparison nearly every time she sings. From her first album release in 1999, Price has embraced a compelling mix of influences from rock and blues to country and even old-school jazz. You won’t find many Toni Price videos and her albums sales have been modest at best. Combined with her reluctance to leave the Austin, Texas area, most people probably haven’t heard her music.
Which is a shame, since her regular Tuesday night performances at Austin’s Continental Club are legendary musical events. For more than a decade, Price has taken the stage every week to standing room only crowds. She seldom stands on stage, opting to sit perched on a stool while she belts out a mix of tunes that range from Dr. John to Billie Holiday.
Price’s longtime band suffered a huge loss when legendary Austin guitarist and fiddler Champ Hood passed away in 2010. But the singer seems to have channeled the grief from his death into an even more compelling stage performance.
At a time when most musicians want to be household names, the 41-year-old Price has an attitude about success which is retro as her sound. She concentrates on the music and on her daughter and trusts everything else will work out the way it should in the long run.
Her newest release is entitled “Cherry Sunday Orchestra,” and despite the critical raves it’s essentially only available on her web site or in a few locations in Austin. Which is the musical equivalent of discovering Picasso’s works are only available by traveling to his hometown.