The upcoming Onwards and Upwards, Niall's first bluegrass music release for Pinecastle Records, was recently recorded at Loud Studios on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The release will include nine new tracks, including a Toner/Sewell co-write tribute to the late Earl Scruggs, called The Pride And Joy Of Shelby. Other new songs deal with Life, Love and the Law, and there are a few surprises.
There's also a tribute to the Father of Bluegrass, called William Smith Monroe, an Irish-Style love song, Sweet Bunclody Girl, a couple of rip-roaring Bluegrass songs and a Celtic-Flavored Blackstairs Mountains instrumental tune called The Burren Backstep.
Viktor Krauss played Upright Bass, Ashby Frank was on Mandolin, Rob Ickes on Dobro and Weisenborn Guitars, and Keith Sewell played Guitar, Piano, and Five-String Banjo. Harmony and backing vocals were provided by Wendy Buckner, Shawn Pody, Keith Sewell and Fiaz Farrelly. The sessions were engineered by Jake Burns, and the Producer was Keith Sewell. Niall contributes musically on the project as well as vocally. It's a new release that is sure to please.
Please keep and eye and ear open for CD Release Party at World of Bluegrass in Nashville this September.
Niall Toner is an acoustic Irish flavored artist with Celtic influences whose diverse repertoire ranges from contemporary up-tempo songs and tunes to inspirational gospel-style numbers, as well as tributes to Bill Monroe the father of bluegrass like "The Master's Resting Place" and "Bill Monroe's Mandolin."
Niall's composition credits include songs recorded by artists like Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones), The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Albert Lee, Special Consensus, Keith Sewell, The Swanson Family and more. In 2003 Toner was nominated for a Global Artist Award by the CMA. To date, Niall and his Band have recorded and released three CD albums, and they perform their original songs and tunes on a regular basis at Festivals and Venues in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA.
Niall was born in Dublin, Ireland and nurtured an early interest in music by tuning in to Radio Luxemburg and the AFN radio service from Germany. The Saturday night re-broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry from Nashville was his first exposure to Country music, and when a local school-friend showed up with a collection that included the music of Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, The Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers, Niall's musical fate was sealed. Niall Toner is widely regarded as one of Ireland's leading experts on bluegrass and American country music, and he brings this knowledge of music to a wide audience, both through his live performances and various workshops, as well as through his radio show, Roots Freeway, which is broadcast on Ireland's national radio station, RTE Radio One.