15 October 2012

Niall Toner in the bluegrass heartland

Niall Toner reports from Raleigh, North Carolina:

I did a gig last night in Tir Na nOg here in Raleigh, with a fine bunch of local musicians who went to the trouble of learning all my new songs from my Pinecastle album, Onwards and upwards. Jan Johansson, originally from Sweden, played mandolin and fiddle; Tom Langdon (Lorraine Jordan's husband) played Dobro; and Rick Lassiter was on bass. The stage at Tir Na nOg, and the in-house sound system, are just superb, and the house soundman, Ethan Chesson, really knows his stuff. This will be one of the live venues for World Of Bluegrass when they relocate here next year.

Last Wednesday I was in Bristol, TN, where the locals are working hard to promote the city as one of the most important country music historical locations, and where they have streets named after Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. I performed on a lunchtime TV news show, which provoked a huge reaction and drew a great crowd to my show that night at the Bristol Museum's Performing Arts Centre.

I also recorded a show with Tim White for the 'Songs of the Mountains' TV series, which will be broadcast on PBS TV, and goes out to an audience of over forty million viewers in about four months time. Tim and his band, the VW Boys, were great to work with, and we also had Special Consensus on the show.

Onwards and upwards went out to radio and TV last week, and the reaction from DJs and presenters has been very positive. The official release here in the US is set for 30 October.

This coming week it's Asheville, Burnsville, and Jonesborough, with No Strings Attached, Mark Newton and the VW Boys, the Boxcars, and Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. Hey, it's all go...

The photos above were taken by the celebrated US bluegrass blogger Ted Lehmann, were published among others on 10 Oct. on his blog 'Ted Lehmann's Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms', and are used here with his permission. Top, Niall performing in front of the Blue Plate Wall at WDVX-FM in Knoxville, TN; bottom, Niall and all-girl Boston-based band Della Mae.

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