Newberg Graphic Feature | Toney Rocks: Singer, songwriter, explorer

Created on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 | Written by Aaron Knapp

Musician will bring fusion of folk and blues to cultural center

While singer-songwriter Toney Rocks is described as being a mix of folk, rock and blues, he tends to see himself more as an "explorer," letting himself flow into whatever genre or blend of genres a song takes him. 

"It means I can do anything that suits the lyrics and emotion I need to get out," he said in an email. "So, really I just write what comes natural to me. If I feel like it represents what Toney Rocks is, then I release it."

Rocks will give Newberg a taste of his musical explorations, soulful voice and contemplative songs in a concert at 6 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Chehalem Cultural Center, 415 E. Sheridan St. 

Although Rocks began his musical career as a percussionist — from when he got his hands on a set of drums at age 5 through any jazz band or orchestra he could find in school — he now favors acoustic instruments, primarily guitar and sometimes piano, mandolin and ukulele. 

The acoustic style fits in with a series of concerts the Chehalem Cultural Center is cultivating since Japanese singer-songwriter Hiroya Tsukamoto gave a concert in the Black Box Theater last August, according to Erin Padilla, the center's programming coordinator. 

"We ended up selling out and receiving very positive feedback from this concert and decided that maybe there's a community want for more concerts throughout the year," she said. "Since then we've been working towards creating a concert series that would feature a variety of musicians and styles." 

Influenced by a range of artists from Jackson Browne to Vince Gill, Rocks said he takes inspiration for his own songs from his own experience and seeks to connect with his audience on a personal level with his music and lyrics. 

"I write about things that I see affecting people on the human level as well as my own personal experiences, while trying to present the stories in away that everyone feels like it's either about them or someone they've known," he said 

To that end, he said he likes to "go deep" with his audience on about 80 percent of his sets, giving listeners an emotional break the other 20 percent of the time. 

Tickets for the show are $14 for adults and $7 for children at the door — with a discount if purchased online —and are available at More information about Rocks may be found at