Emerson Hart, who turns 52 today, formed Tonic along with Jeff Russo in 1993. The band played regionally around LA for a couple of years before recording their first album in 1996. For the album, the band added lap and pedal steel guitars to give the group a more rootsy feel. The album produced the band’s biggest hit with If You Could Only See. Released in 1997, it was one of the most played songs on radio that year, and the album is often included in best of lists for the decade.
Tonic would then tour for two years before returning to record their second album. Sugar was self produced and had one moderately successful single, supported by it’s use in the movie American Pie.
Tonic returned with a third album in 2002 with Head on Straight. The group received two Grammy nominations for the album and it’s single Take Me As I Am, In 2004 Tonic went on hiatus while band members pursued different projects. After returning to record a fourth album in 2010, the band has continued to tour and in 2016 recorded a twentieth anniversary all acoustic version of their debut album Lemon Parade.
This year the group released their first stand alone digital single while each member has remained active with their own projects. Emerson Hart has teamed up with Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath and Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin to form Ezra Ray Hart. The band has a series of state fair appearances scheduled for the summer and fall.