The Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Charlottesville, Virginia have given the world many inspiring musicians. The Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Hornsby, Phil Vassar and The Statler Brothers were all raised in these Shenandoah shadows. Now, with Todd Sansom, the mountains have done it again.

His musical journey began there, with piano lessons at age four. By age nine, frustrated by the discipline of reading sheet music, and blessed with a musical ear that allowed him to play a song after only hearing it once, Todd abandoned traditional music lessons and simply turned on the radio. In other words, Todd was already hearing a different tune.

By the time he was fifteen, Country music had Todd's full attention. He was playing keyboards and fronting well known Country and Southern rock bands in shows throughout Virginia, rocking dance-halls before he was driving. "I was playing with solid musicians who were twice my age," he says. "It was a situation that demanded I get good…fast. You can't beat that."

Actually, Todd knew you could, you just had to move to Nashville to do it. He enrolled at Belmont University in the fall of 1996, and majored in vocal performance. "I didn't want to major in something I might 'fall back on', I wanted to use college as an opportunity to become the very best I could be at what I do." He goes on, "A basketball coach once told me that 'Every moment you are not working to improve yourself, someone out there is getting better than you'. I guess I took that to heart. I'm competitive, and I'm willing to work to be the best." His approach paid off when he was selected to represent the university in two prestigious showcases, "The Country Music Showcase" and the "Best of: School of Music Showcase".

They were noticing Todd outside the walls of Belmont, as well. Music Row Magazine and renowned industry critic Robert Oermann honored Todd with his Discovery award in the spring of 2000. Wrote Oermann, "I see real promise here".

While others were taking notice, one industry icon took action. April of 2000 found Todd auditioning for Kenny Rogers in hopes of becoming lead singer for the new group "Marshall Dyllon", on Kenny's Dreamcatcher Records. "I don’t get nervous," recalls Todd, "But singing face to face in a tiny room for someone as legendary as Kenny, that'll rattle anybody!" He must have held it together, though…Kenny signed Todd on the spot.

By the fall of 2000, Todd was putting the finishing touches on Marshall Dyllon's debut album, "Enjoy the Ride". Working with producers such as Phil Vassar and Grammy award winner John Guess (Dixie Chicks), Todd was featured not only for his vocals, but his harmony vocal arrangements, production, and even wrote 3 of the songs on the album, including title track. The band went on to tour with artists ranging from Kenny to Rascal Flatts, released three singles to radio and two videos to CMT and GAC.

Two years later, and on the cusp of success, Dremcatcher Records fell victim to financial hardships, and the Marshall Dyllon story was left unfinished. But Todd's career was only beginning. Recently, Todd has toured as keyboardist and background vocalist for Julie Roberts, performed on “Good Morning America” as well as “The Tonight Show”. He has toured with country superstar Collin Raye, as well as Steve Holy, Andy Griggs, and Mark Wills. Todd has also been featured on studio recordings with Rogers, Roberts and Trace Adkins.  Somehow, he also finds time to play his own music all over Music City and the southeast.

"How many guys my age have had the complete recording artist experience, have toured all across the US and Canada, have been on radio stations, national TV and in record stores nationwide? I have so much experience under my belt, and yet I feel like my whole career is still in front of me." An exceptional writer, accomplished musician, powerful singer and dynamic performer, it's easy to see why Todd consistently gets the reaction that he does. And like he says, he's just getting started.


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