As You Are
Ned Tonner's debut CD project 'As You Are' is a wonderful collection of heavenly melodies and enchanting lyrics that is sure to bring a peaceful feeling to the listener. The contemplative songwriting and artful production together with Ned's still voice remind you of your favorite John Denver, Dan Fogelberg or Jim Croce song. The song, 'I Need You Lord' gently reminds us of our need for the Lord in the morning and at the end of day and as 'the flowers need the rain.' Likewise, 'Be a Blessing' encourages us to be a blessing to all people and to everyone by showing that Jesus lives within us. Both songs instill peace in a restless world. 'He is Messiah' is an upbeat folk-rock 12-string acoustical jam that sends you on a soulful search to learn and know that 'Jesus Christ is our Messiah and Redeemer.' The elegant tinkling of the ivories in 'Seek My Face' showcases Ned's piano playing and smooth tenor voice in a soothing and quiet way. Ned was born and raised in Rensselaer, Indiana and was heavily influenced by his grandfather, Paul Tonner, a professor of music at Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer. 'I started piano at age 6 with my grandfather, who was such a blessing. He had such a strong Christian faith and wrote and published over 100 songs in the Catholic Church.' At age 10, Ned began playing guitar and was introduced to the guitar mass movement in the Catholic Church. 'I was involved in what was the beginning of the movement that ushered in songs by The Saint Louis Jesuits, Carey Laundry and John Michael Talbot. It was an exciting time.' After graduating from Indiana University, Ned received a law degree from the University of Tulsa, in Oklahoma. While there, Ned was introduced to contemporary Christian music and attended concerts including Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Russ Taff and Whiteheart, among others. 'I saw the beginning of what eventually became the gospel music industry and I was inspired. I heard uplifting contemporary songs that gave glory to God and I quickly caught the music bug,' says Ned. After a conversion experience at age 24, Ned began seriously writing songs for the first time with the assistance of his mother, Elizabeth, a gifted lyricist. After clerking for a Federal Judge in Indiana and while working in a downtown Chicago law firm, Ned met a songwriter for Debbie Boone, who soon introduced Ned to her famous father, Pat Boone. 'I flew out to LA to meet with Pat Boone, who was in concert with Denise Williams (Let's Hear it for the Boys) at the time. He introduced me to his lawyers and helped me land a job in a law firm in downtown LA. He also showed an interest in my music and encouraged me to continue writing. He'll never know how his friendship encouraged and uplifted me,' shares Ned. While in LA, Ned began combining his music and law and began representing entertainment law clients, including Michael Betts, owner of Rugged Records. 'Michael introduced me to the gospel music industry. I gained valuable experience negotiating record deals and distribution contracts for his company,' says Ned. Also, while in LA, Ned met the love of his life, Shari, a schoolteacher from Oceanside, California. 'We had 4 dates the first week. It was a sign of what was to be---a blessed marriage that has produced 4 lovely children, Elizabeth, Laura, Emily and Joshua. Shari and our kids are my real inspiration,' beams Ned. Thus began not only a marriage but a songwriting relationship with Shari. 'She has a real gift for lyrics and one of our closest times is when we write songs together,' says Ned. In the early 90's, the Tonner's returned to Ned's native Indiana where Ned and Shari continue to write and Ned practices law. 'It's been a blessing to raise our kids where I grew up.' "As You Are" is the inaugural celebration of Ned's life through music. Ned pays tribute to those who influenced him mucically and spiritually. This fine CD includes songs written with his wife, family and friends.