Every week, I will be profiling an extraordinary human being who lives in our community. If you know someone who is doing something interesting with their life, I want to hear about it. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Success can best be measured by doing what you love every single day. And when you’re making a living from it, well then you’ve already made it to the top.
“People ask me all the time why I never left or why I never did the big tour thing and I think, for me, it’s because I already had something pretty good going on right here,” says Tobin Spring.
He’s right, too. He does have a good thing going on. It’s not a typical case of should have, could have, would have. He never left his hometown for long, except for his college days which were spent in the big smoke. But he has no regrets. He’s rooted here – born and raised and he actually couldn’t be happier. He’s established himself as a working musician and he feels extremely lucky, not to mention grateful, for the way things turned out. A lot of hard work and dedication has certainly paid off.
When he’s not playing a solo gig or performing as the frontman with his longtime band Laganza, he’s teaching guitar and singing lessons at his successful music school. He’s well known and admired. He inspires the old and influences the young. Music feeds his soul and fulfills a deep sense of belonging. Anyone who’s connected to the local music scene has probably jammed with Tobin and will definitely attest to the calibre of his talent. He’s one of the best guitarists around this neck of the woods. And he’s got the pipes to match. If you’ve ever seen him play, you were probably in awe at how fast his fingers scaled the neck of his shiny Fender. His purpose can be summed up in just a few short words: Tobin was born to rock.
He’s come a long way since his high school days when he would take the stage with his band at the infamous Black Hole Cabaret’s. But even back then, despite being a rookie to the stage and bright lights, he had a presence. There was almost something magical about him. You could just tell Tobin was in his element. Now, there’s something a little bit different about him. He hasn’t redefined himself, but he’s gained the maturity that comes with the experience of being a working musician.
I’ve still got the same passion for music that I did when I was younger, but I definitely look at it with a more mature view. When I was younger, I would blindly go for it… there was that raw energy. And that’s a good thing and I’ve always enjoyed that, I’ve just learned a lot more tricks of the trade. It’s like I’m a student. I’m always learning.
A big piece of Tobin’s life has been spent doing the band thing. There isn’t a pub or bar in the area that Laganza hasn’t played at. With their authentic sound of rock, reggae and blues, they’ve garnered quite a following and reputable status in the Ontario music scene.
The band has felt the rush of adrenaline that comes with taking the stage in front of thousands of people and have been the opening act for big-name bands like Blue Rodeo, Big Sugar and Kim Mitchell. They even took some time off to do an East Coast tour back in 2012, something that Tobin always wanted to do. Laganza has released three albums to date and is currently working on a fourth, but this time, Tobin says, they’re taking a different approach. They will be releasing singles periodically. It’s a fun way for the guys to continue making new music while keeping their fans satisfied at the same time.
“Lost of bands end up breaking up or the band members go on to explore different avenues,” says Tobin. “But for Laganza, we’ve never officially broke up. We’ve been together for a really long time and we’re just going to keep putting music out there.”
His musical roots run deep, and were likely inherited from his parents who always encouraged him to find his groove within. They are the masterminds behind the popular Etwell Concert Series, and that’s given Tobin the opportunity to connect with some of Canada’s finest musicians. He’s jammed with a lot of them as well. He says he likes to keep busy and so much of what he does centres around being driven to be musically creative. The beauty that surrounds him and the daily grind of life lends a hand when it comes to honing his craft as a songwriter.
What really gets me excited is writing and recording and feeling passionate about it. At the same time, I can do music and make a living from it. I’m not just straight-gigging. I’m doing a little bit of everything.
And while Laganza will always be his baby, branching off as a solo artist has been somewhat of a natural progression in the evolution of Tobin establishing himself as a working musician. A couple years ago, he released his first solo album, The Collective Blues Agreement. Following the release of that album, Tobin put out two music videos, Shake and Like a Fool, which were directed and produced by Huntsville’s own Mark Boucher.
Right now, he’s getting ready to kick off the first show of Untapped with Muskoka Blues Connection, a blues variety show at Deerhurst Resort that’s showcasing a slew of the area’s best musicians. This is an exciting new venture for Tobin. Playing the blues has always been his forte and being able to put on a show that embodies his favourite genre of music is obviously going to be a thrill. He’s also looking forward to the opportunity to perform with a 10-piece band that actually features a horns section. And that, he says, is rare for a lot of musicians.
So, life is full for 36-year-old, which is exactly the way he likes it. But who knows what the future has in store, although it will likely entail Tobin continuing to tap into his creative side.
“I’m always willing to invest time to get music out there,” he says.
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