"Imagine that you're on a road trip, and you find yourself driving 90 miles south of Bakersfield through the town of Cochtotan, California. You stop for a drink, and wander into a bar that happens to have a local trio playing live rock music with a rootsy feel. Not only is this trio made up of three extremely charming, sophisticated, and virile young men, but they're also three of the best musicians you have ever heard. Now imagine that we live in a world where we don't have to write nonsense like this to get you interested, and we can just tell you that Pete Thomas, Davey Faragher, and Val McCallum rock so hard and so soulfully, you simply must attend."
Tonya Watts wears her truth on her sleeve. Well actually on her forearm. Literally. Tonya had Truth tattooed on her arm as a reminder to herself and everyone around her what she stands for, and what she lives for… she is addicted to it in life, in art and most importantly in her songs.
Tonya lays her life out in front of you. Fist fightin’, divorce, cheatin’, go-go bars, and her struggle and love for her faith (as in the title track of her debut album, Handcuff My Soul). All of her songs resonate with the clang of a sort of “truth bell” announcing the arrival of a misfit and outcast who knows she does not fit in, and probably does not care because she also knows there is a world of people who feel the same way and she is a voice for those people. The people, who like herself, “know what it’s like to wanna die” but move on and survive, cause “what dosen’t kill them makes them tougher”.
Recently Tonya was featured in Billy Block’s Western Beat Show, including a picture on the cover of the western beat magazine, then wasting no time, she opened for Kid Rock on July 4th in her home state of Alabama. And then back to the Billy Block Show and again on the cover of the magazine, in a night that Billy announced was built around Tonya. A night of southern rock nashville misfits.
In past years Tonya has opened for Alabama, Toby Keith, Deana Carter, and her hero David Allan Coe. She also received attention from the LA Weekly newspaper as she was featured as being on the forefront of a Hollywood Country movement.
Once upon a time Tonya left her southern roots for a Hollywood Dream. She had small parts in some TV shows and movies, including being the double for Pamela Anderson in Barbwire and some Baywatch. Then one day she was cast in a small role in the Barbara Mandrell story. The part was Dolly Parton; one of Tonya’s all time loves. To this day, to hear Dolly talk and sing can bring Tonya to tears. This experience coupled with the inspiration of her southern outcast outlaw Hollywood friends, led her to pick up a guitar and start to tell her story in song.
A Tonya Watts’ song tells a truth that cuts deep, but in that, isn’t afraid to have a good time with a whole lotta rock & roll bangin away with her country twang, tears, anger, and love. If Axl Rose and Dolly Parton had a baby girl that was given up for adoption to be raised by Loretta Lynn and David Allan Coe where it was fed a steady diet of Lita Ford, Motley Crue, and AC/DC, well Tonya Watts just may be that girl.
Tonya Watts is addicted to Truth, addicted to standing up for the outcast, and addicted to music that strives to express those same addictions. She is a true outcast… a true outlaw… and the real deal.
Since returning to the “bible belt”, Tonya has really gotten real with her efforts to help the homeless population of Nashville; bringing attention to the Un-Christian “please help, don’t give” campaign, with her video for her song Cumberland Angels, she has an on-going coat and sock drive through her B. LOVE FOUNDATION, named after a homeless man she met on the streets of Nashville, named Booger Love. Once again, Tonya Watts is the real deal.