Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Della Mae & Niall Toner at WDVX - Review

Della Mae & Niall Toner

WDVX-FM has its offices and studio at the Knoxville Visitor Center on the corner of Summit Hill and E. Gay Street. Weekday at noon they host two bands for one hour live performances of bluegrass and roots music. Several dozen people come in to hear the music while they eat their bag lunches or just enjoy the free show.  Today we drove over to see the show since Della Mae, one of our favorite bands, and Irish singer/songwriter Niall Toner were performing. The music was tuneful and fun, meeting Toner a delight, and the show a first rate setting for Toner and Della Mae.

Red Hickey - WDVX Emcee

Niall Toner

Considered to be one of Irelands foremost experts on American bluegrass and country music, Niall (pronounced Neal) Toner has spent significant time attending festivals in the U.S. and immersing himself in the music and culture of bluegrass. As a solo act, his very pleasant baritone voice, well-wrought songs, and warm personality entertain and warm the heart. His song "William Smith Monroe" effectively captures Monroe's spirit and importance, while several of his songs of love and longing were strong. "Remember Me" is a plea from a person sinking into dementia to be remembered for what he was rather than what he has become is particularly moving.  Toner is worth giving a good hearing if you get the chance or give give his new CD Onward & Upward with Pinecastle a try.

 The Audience at WDVX

Niall Toner

A very satisfying performer.

Della Mae

Della Mae, a bluegrass/Americana/roots band with its soul in all kinds of music but retaining an essentially bluegrass form and feel while leaning very heavily on the bluesy voice and songwriting of lead singer Celia Woodsmith, has continued to grow and develop as an exciting and creatively strong bluegrass band. Their songs never stray away from a strong allegiance to melody and clear, understandable lyrics. Sharing a diverse musical sensibility drawn together in the rich musical soup of the Boston area, although they're from all parts of the country. Their new CD will be released on Rounder Records in January. Meanwhile, you'll have to be satisfied with their excellent debut CD "I Built This Heart" with eight original songs by Woodsmith. With five members, each of whom sings and is an fine instrumentalist, this is a band that will break out with its new release. Catch 'em while you can.

Celia Woodsmith

Della Mae - I Built This Heart

Kimber Ludiker

Jenny Lyn Gardner

Courtney Hartman

Shelby Means

 Della Mae - Letter from Down the Road - Video

Della Mae will be at the Loveless Barn tonight (10.10.2012) and will embark on a State Department world tour this winter.