25 May 2011

Tom Hanway and Karl Deeter play Saturday on RTÉ Radio to honour President Obama’s visit to Ireland

Thanks to Tom Hanway for this news:

A welcome result of President Obama’s historic visit to Ireland is this Saturday’s RTÉ Radio 1 current affairs programme, CountryWide, featuring Tom Hanway [left] on 5-string banjo playing traditional American songs from bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and ‘Caravan’, a tune composed by Duke Ellington, first popularised by maestro Bill Keith, one of Tom’s early mentors. This is a huge honour for Tom and he is very grateful to RTÉ producers for thinking of him to represent the USA on the banjo.

An RTÉ producer called Tom Hanway to ask him if he would perform live on CountryWide, which goes out from 8.00 to 9.00 a.m. Saturday morning. Tom agreed and immediately enlisted his old pickin’ pal, guitarist Karl Deeter, the savvy financial analyst and writer heard on radio and TV in Ireland. Damien O’Reilly, just back from Kentucky, hosts on this special and momentous occasion.

To honour American song traditions and African Americans, Tom and Karl [right] will play the Ellington tune in the original jazz key and dedicate it to President Obama for his visit to Ireland, where he and wife Michelle truly embraced the people, one-by-one, letting their guards down, and foiling the Secret Service. As Americans, Tom and Karl are proud to honour the Obamas for their visit to Ireland.

Tom and Karl, both married to Irish girls, are two American ex-pats. Tom, living in Longford, is originally from Larchmont, New York, and Karl, living in Dublin, is from Chicago, Illinois, where President Obama also hails from. As Tennessee Hob, Tom and Karl got their start at the 18th North Wales Bluegrass Festival (2006) in Conwy, Wales, representing Ireland. Their shows have always featured brother-style duets, hot instrumentals and Karl's off-the-cuff stories, ribs (about Tom) and jokes.

Karl Deeter plays bluegrass part-time, as a labour of love. He has a crystal-clear Appalachian voice and plays solid rhythm and fancy fiddle tunes. He also fingerpicks, playing in the styles of Doc Watson, Leo Kottke and Merle Travis. Karl and Tom take turns singing lead and harmony vocals, in the tradition of the classic brother duets in American country and bluegrass music.

Tom is a musical shape-shifter and stylistic pioneer, author of a groundbreaking 181-page tutor on Celtic fingerstyle banjo, one of Mel Bay's best-selling books and CDs. The Complete book of Irish & Celtic 5-string banjo (101 tunes) is now in its thirteenth year of publication (1998). This book/CD package has won Hanway many new converts in both hemispheres. He is currently finishing work on another Mel Bay banjo book and recording, scheduled for release later this year.

The same year Mel Bay published Hanway’s original tutor, he teamed up with legendary banjo maker Geoff Stelling to co-design the Tom Hanway Stelling SwallowTail Deluxe (no. 4737) and Standard banjo (1999), a crossover bluegrass-Celtic hybrid instrument, introducing a radiused fingerboard as a Stelling banjo option. The SwallowTail has become a popular model worldwide for Stelling, with actor Steve Martin purchasing one true to Tom's original prototype.

Tom Hanway has three recordings distributed via Universal on the major online download stores. See Tom’s homepage to download mp3s from Amazon or iTunes. Please check out Tom’s original 'Horizon Hornpipe', recorded in Nashville by Tom’s old friend, producer Bil VornDick, with Mark Schatz doubling on clawhammer banjo, and visit on Tom Hanway on MySpace for mp3 samples, and a slide show that chronicles Tom’s career in bluegrass and traditional music on both side of the Atlantic.

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