By Alex Wilks, For the Surrey Now-Leader
After 30 years and about 1,000 live performances, Surrey’s Troy Toma has added a little twang to his music.
“Country is more vocal oriented and everything sounds so much clearer,” said Toma. “People feel more of a connection to it. They can relate.”
Toma, who was born and raised in Langley, owns Cadence School of Music and teaches guitar lessons at various levels and styles.
On Sunday night, Toma released his latest EP, Cold Love at Gabby’s Country Cabaret in Langley. The album features an undertone of country, which he said gives fans a teaser as to what they can expect from him in the future. The lyrics combine personal experiences, every day observations and they are something he feels everyone can relate to.
So why country?
“In general you evolve and try to reach for something different,” he said. “Not to knock metal, I love metal, but country I think I could see myself doing for a long time.”
He describes his transition into country as very natural.
After attending the BC Country Music Association Awards show last October, Toma finds himself drawn to the sound of country admiring artists such as Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Vince Gill.
“Your tastes change and your opinions change about music,” said Toma. “There’s not one person on this planet that could ever know everything about music.”
Using Skype, he collaborated with Doug Folkins, a singer/songwriter who had connections to a Nashville publishing company.
“I just came to him with an acoustic riff and a couple lines of some words,” said Toma. “He just went to town and we finished the song in like an hour and 15 minutes.”
Toma, 45, crossed paths with his first guitar while living in California as a teenager.
“In California everyone has an acoustic guitar, it’s like a piece of furniture,” he said. “It’s just natural to pick it up and give it a try.”
Although his biggest influence has been classic rock, he also studied blues and classical at Kwantlen College.
“Rock was just what was around, all my friends were listening to it,” said Toma. “But you grow up and your opinions change.”
Playing guitar is more than just a hobby to him. Influenced by older musicians he moved back to the Lower Mainland driven to begin a career as a music teacher.
“I just wanted to wake up every day and do music.”
Toma said he enjoys collaborating with musicians and looks forward to each and every performance.
“Sometimes it feels like a meditative state, you get into a zone,” he said. “There’s just something about it… You just kind of get involved in the music and feel the rhythm. If you’re having fun, the audience has fun.
“Just being an entertainer, that’s your job.”