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Across the Big Pond Ireland's Niall Toner rides wave of bluegrass success into the Tri-Cities

October 4th, 2011 4:04 am by staff report

Across the Big Pond Ireland's Niall Toner rides wave of bluegrass success into the Tri-Cities

Courtesy of Bryan Meade Irish bluegrass musician Niall Toner will play shows at the Acoustic Coffeehouse in Johnson City, the Bus Pit in Kingsport and the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center during his tour of the United States.

   The leader and founder of the Niall Toner Band from Ireland is celebrating a career milestone — the No. 1 download spot on the bluegrass and folk charts for Air Play Direct. As a result, Niall Toner and his band have been enjoying an ever-increasing amount of air play on American radio.

   Toner’s songs about Bill Monroe, “Bill Monroe’s Mandolin” and “The Master’s Resting Place,” are proving popular with radio DJs and listeners in this year of Monroe’s c e n t e n a r y.

   With the success of his music on American radio through the Air Play Direct digital download service, Toner has traveled from Ireland to spend October doing a small promotional tour in the southeastern United States that includes stops in the Tri-Cities this week.

   Toner will perform at 10 p.m., Wednesday at the Acoustic Coffeehouse in Johnson City.

   A workshop for students of East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Program will be held on Thursday. Toner will travel to Asheville, N.C., to perform at 8 p.m., Friday at the White Horse Black Mountain, then return to the Tri-Cities to wrap up his tour with an 8 p.m. show Saturday at The Bus Pit in Kingsport. Tickets will be available at the door the night of the show.

   Toner will also be a special guest at the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series concert Oct. 22 at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center. Show time is 7 p.m. The concert, which serves as a CD release celebration for Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out’s new album “Prime Tyme,” will also feature performances by Cumberland River and Blue Edition, a band made up of students from ETSU’s Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Program. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for ETSU students with a valid ID and $10 for children 12 and younger.

   The Niall Toner Band is an Irish bluegrass band from the Blackstairs Mountain region of Ireland. Founded by Niall Toner in 2001 with Clem O’Brien and Dick Gladney, the trio performs a set of all-original songs and instrumentals, with a sound unique to the rich blend of traditional acoustic country music and bluegrass with a distinctive Celtic twist.

   The band performs live on a regular basis at festivals, venues and arts centers in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

   Toner is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s leading experts on bluegrass and American country music, and his songs have been recorded by many artists, including Bill Wyman, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Albert Lee, Special Consensus, Keith Sewell, the Swanson Family, the Fleadh Cowboys and others.

   To find out more about Niall Toner or for more details on this week’s tour, visit w w w. n i a l l t o n e r b a n d . c o m .

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