09 February 2015

Working on love - for release this Saturday

On 6 Jan., prompted by the Prescription Bluegrass Blog, the BIB published a brief advance notice of Niall Toner's new and fifth all-original album, Working on love.

It was recorded in Nashville with producer Keith Sewell and a stellar lineup of musicians, including Samson Grisman (The Deadly Gentlemen/ David Grisman Band) on bass, Justin Weaver on mandolin and guitar, Keith Sewell (Lyle Lovett Band/Dixie Chicks) on guitar, fiddle, and mandolin, and Scott Vestal (Sam Bush Band) on 5-string banjo. Niall played mandolin and banjo, and sang all the lead vocals, with harmonies by Wendy Buckner and Keith Sewell. The sessions were cut at 16 Tons Studio on Music Row, and mixed and mastered at the Toolshed Studios in Mount Juliet, TN, engineered by Michael Esser.

Now, with the official release date of 14 Feb. on this coming Saturday, Niall sends the following message:

This is basically an album of love longs, and it seems appropriate that it should be released to coincide with St Valentine’s Day, the annual celebration of LOVE.

I hope that there’s something here for everyone. Working on love will be made available in as many formats as one could desire: hard copy CDs in the shops, including Claddagh Records on Cecilia Street and Westmoreland Street in Dublin, as well as at our live shows, iTunes, amazon.com and from our website.

The songs

Working on love is, as the title suggests, an up-tempo song about a couple working continuously to improve their relationship.
Josie’s reel is a glimpse of innocence, and paints a picture of a somewhat clumsy man trying to make an impression on a dancing girl.
I know what lonely’s about is a love song about the loneliness of separation, but with a happy ending.
Old tyme love is another old-style love song which tells the story of a touring performer on the road wanting to get back home as soon as possible.
When tomorrow comes is one of those up-tempo-style bluegrass songs which has at its heart a story of breakup and separation, but nonetheless expresses its emotion over a hard-driving bluegrass rhythm.
The mountain and the sky uses that metaphor to describe a relationship on the very edge of crumbling - or maybe not.
Walk on water is a full-on gospel song that I wrote with Terri Lynn-Weaver, and draws its inspiration directly from the Bible story about Jesus walking on water.
Bill Monroe’s mandolin is, as far as I know, the only love song ever written about a mandolin, and a fairly special one at that! I first recorded this song in 2001, but I always harboured an ambition to re-cut it in a more ‘story-telling’ version, so here it is!
The only instrumental on this album represents my take on two traditional Irish themes/styles. Planxty Coolasnaughta is named so because it’s in the style of the great Irish harpist Turlough O’Carolan, and The flower of Liffey Hall is a hornpipe of mine, named for my granddaughter, Caoilinn.
The people wondered is an a cappella song performed in shape-note hymnal style, based on the concept of the 'Doubting Thomas'.

We look forward to hearing Niall's banjo now that it's come out of the closet (those woollens do muffle the sound). Niall can be contacted by e-mail.

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