17 September 2015

Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure on stage at Omagh 2015: (l-r) Brendan Hendry, Patsy Toman, Jonathan Toman, Pete Toman (photo: Chris Brennan)

Northern Exposure from Lurgan, Co. Armagh, have been pillars of the bluegrass scene in Ulster for over twenty years. With a sound embracing modern and traditional forms of bluegrass, they are perennially in the lineup at the Bluegrass Music Festival in the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone (see photo above).

The band's core consists of the twin brothers Patsy Toman (lead vocals, guitar) and Peter Toman (double bass, vocals) with Pete's son Jonathan on 5-string banjo and guitar. (Jonathan has been an exceptional banjo player since his early teens, and since 2006 he and Steve Scullion have performed and recorded as the duo Cat Malojian.) Northern Exposure's sound is now further augmented - Jonathan explains:

Our fiddle player is Brendan Hendry: he's a trad player but has a great ear for country and old-time sounds too. Myself and Brendan are releasing a banjo/fiddle album in January, all being well; trad and some old-time flavours in some tracks. I'm producing it myself and doing all the instrumentation in the home studio at Lurgan.

Thanks to Jonathan for these YouTube clips of duets that will feature in the forthcoming album: 'Return to Clinch Mountain' (with an Irish twist) and 'The Boyne Hunt set' (hornpipes and reels). More videos are on their YouTube channel.

Patsy and Pete are also producing banjos of outstanding quality; the BIB will publish more on this subject in the near future. Northern Exposure can be contacted at present through Pete's Facebook page; a band page may be set up to promote the new CD in the coming year.

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