Ireland AM has invited songwriter-raconteur Jack Grace and Tom Hanway to appear on the popular TV programme, on Wednesday, 26 August, 8.00 am. Jack will sing and pick Tom's D-28V Herringbone Martin guitar, with Tom playing his Stelling SwallowTail banjo, performing 'If you're gonna raise a drunk', the side-splitting single from The Jack Grace Band's upcoming CD, Drinking Songs for Lovers. Jack brings real life experience to his considerable craft.

At the Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival, the group will be performing old favourites along with songs from the upcoming CD, which features special guests John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful) and Earl Poole Ball (Johnny Cash Band), among others. When hearing the record after its completion, Sebastian raved, "You have a hit recording on your hands!"

Earle Poole Ball is a legend in his own right, with 25 years as a member of the Johnny Cash show under his belt. After he and Grace toured as a duo in music halls across Texas, Jack invited him to perform on the new record. His reaction to the finished recording was more than enthusiastic: "This is a great concept with lots of good songs. It sounds great, and what a masterful mixing job... we should write a song together sometime!"

Tom Hanway composes prolifically on banjo and has three albums distributed globally on the major digital stores. Tom's debut CD Bucket of Bees, waxed in Nashville and New York City, saw him working with top bluegrass artists Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, David Grier and Vassar Clements. Hanway wrote seven tunes for Bucket of Bees, shifting between bluegrass and contemporary styles. He has developed and helped folk, country and bluegrass artists on dozens of recordings on both sides of the Atlantic.

Please join the Jack Grace Band at Dunmore East, in celebration of their upcoming recording, with old friends and new, in their favourite home away from home, Ireland. Here's their schedule:
     August 28 – 10.00 pm, The Ocean Hotel
     August 29 – 4.00 pm, Powers Bar
     August 29 – 11.00 pm, The Haven Hotel
     August 30 – 3.00 pm, The Strand
     August 30 – 10.00 pm, The Spinnaker Bar

     Jack "Martini Cowboy" Grace - guitar/vocals
     Daria "Battleaxe" Grace - bass/vocals
     Jason "J-Bird" Bowman - drums/vocals
     Tom "Badbelly" Hanway - banjo/vocals


American bluegrass banjoist Tom Hanway, recently heard on RTE’s Roots Freeway, brings his new bluegrass band to Lynch's in Tullamore on Sunday, 9 August, 8-10 pm. Tom Hanway & the Bluegrass Pals play their powerful, rock-inspired blend of bluegrass and original alt-country music. Hanway was recently signed to an international distribution deal and his three groundbreaking CDs are now on all the major download stores worldwide.

He began playing the 5-string banjo in 1985 and quickly established himself as one of New York City’s most creative banjo players and composers. Tom has three recordings distributed worldwide on the major digital stores. He has helped country and bluegrass artists on dozens of recordings on both sides of the Atlantic.

His debut CD Bucket of Bees, recorded in Nashville and New York City, saw Tom working with legendary bluegrass artists, such as Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan and Vassar Clements. Hanway wrote seven tunes for Bucket of Bees, shifting seamlessly between bluegrass, newgrass, Celtic and jazz, confirming his uncanny ability to play "in context".

Hanway is an innovator, banjo designer and book author - Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo (Mel Bay 1998). Hanway teamed up with Geoff Stelling to co-design the Stelling Tom Hanway SwallowTail Deluxe banjo (1997), a hybrid instrument.

The first SwallowTail was completed in 1998 and has become one of Stelling’s most popular models worldwide. Hollywood actor-comedian Steve Martin recently purchased a SwallowTail Deluxe, based on Tom’s original model.

Tom works with top bands in Ireland and the USA, recently joining forces with the alt-country artist Jack Grace, a former student of Hanway’s, whose most recent recording, "Drinking Songs for Lovers", finds Tom trading off solos with the legendary Earl Poole Ball, who was Johnny Cash’s road piano player for over twenty-five years. Tom also works with the Molly Hicks, a tight-vocal-oriented bluegrass band based in Galway.

Tom’s most daring musical venture these days is with the newly formed Tom Hanway & the Bluegrass Pals, who plug in and play hard-driving bluegrass, original and time-honoured country songs in the tradition of the great, innovative American masters. Personnel include:

Barry Coffey - Guitar/Vocals
Barry Coffey grew up in the country area outside Mullingar in the 80s and 90s and was involved in music from the age of 16. He has gone on to play with many top bands through the years and co-formed the Whiskey River Band in 2004. The Whiskey River Band has had great success in the Wedding and Corporate scene. Barry is also a member of the 7 Piece American Country band Tennessee Breakdown, based out of Mullingar. Barry is currently collaborating with the renowned bluegrass, Irish, Celtic and blues banjo player Tom Hanway (USA), and they are currently planning a nationwide tour of Ireland later this year.

Barry started writing songs about 5 years ago. Barry's unique style of song writing is heavily influenced by American music, including country, bluegrass, blues, southern rock and jazz. Barry's first demo of original material called "Miseryville", though not released as a commercial CD is receiving strong reviews on his MySpace page. Barry is working on a second demo and is bearing down for his debut commercial for 2010, pulling from all his inspirations.
Howard Whelan - mandolin/guitar/vocals
Howard is a very talented multi-instrumentalist and is highly proficient on guitar, mandolin and also fiddle. He also does a mean vocal. Howard is a great exponent of acoustically driven music such as Irish traditional, bluegrass and folk music. His influences include such artists as The Saw Doctors, The Chieftains, Tim O'Brien and Ricky Skaggs. Howard also plays in the Whiskey River Band.

Justin Whelan - bass/vocals
Justin is the rock influence in the band and was a founding member of the Marbles band back in the late 1990's. They went on to have critical acclaim and released a number of successful albums. His influences include The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, to name but a few. In recent years he has developed a love for acoustic music such as Bluegrass and folk. With his solid rock influence he gives the band a Hayseed Dixie vibe. Justin plays with the Whiskey River Band.
Pete Mulkearns - Fiddle/Vocal
Pete Mulkearns saws the fiddle in the band, also being a adept mandolin and guitar player. Pete has worked with the Firehouse Show band and The New Smokies. He is a ardent country music fan and one of Ireland’s top exponents of country and bluegrass fiddling. Pete hold the fiddle seat with the "Tennessee Breakdown Band".


Jack Grace and his band

The Jack Grace Band from New York City tours Ireland from 1 May to 10 May, kicking off their run of original American country music at the Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots Festival.

The honky-tonk band with 5-string banjo is touring to promote Jack’s newest recording of all original music, Drinking Songs for Lovers, featuring the band and such legends as Earl Poole Ball, Johnny Cash’s piano player for 25 years, and John Sebastian, composer of numerous hits with the Lovin’ Spoonful.

The tour is as follows:
     1 May - Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots, Langton’s, 21:30
     2 May - Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots, Morrison’s, 16:00
     2 May, Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots, Breathnach’s, 22:00
     3 May, Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots, Syd Harkins, 21:00
     5 May - The Thatch, 20:00, Rahan, Co. Offaly
     7 May - Barry’s Public House, 21:00, Sligo, Co. Sligo
     8 May - The Stillery, 20:00, Longford, Co. Longford
     9 May - Colfer’s Pub, 20:00, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford.

Jack Grace’s musical inspirations include: Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, The Band, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Neil Young, Tom Waits, The Louvin Brothers, Django Reinhardt, Thelonius Monk, Sam Peckinpaugh, Charlie Parker, Frank Zappa, Bob Wills, and whiskey.

The Waterford News & Star writes: From New York, Jack Grace is one of the great characters of country music. A singer-songwriter, guitarist and banjo-picker, Jack was like the Pied Piper. Everywhere he went, looking for all the world like a cowboy from an old western movie, the fans followed.

The New York Times says about Jack Grace: "His prized possession is a 1947 Gibson acoustic guitar, autographed by his heroes, the country star Merle Haggard and the bluegrass legend Doc Watson. He is rarely spotted without his weather-beaten cowboy hat and rugged boots. He has been known to praise whiskey and tall glasses of beer. Make no mistake: Jack Grace is an old-fashioned country musician." – Kevin Canfield

The Village Voice write: "NYC someday will brag about its great legends of country music, that's right we said country, and among those names will be the engaging, hardworking, witty, and schmoozin' and boozin' Grace."

Jack Grace, aka the “Martini Cowboy”, sings and plays guitar. Joining him on tour are his wife Daria Grace on bass and lead and harmony vocals, Tom Hanway on lap steel guitar, 5-string banjo and vocals, and Jason Bowman on drums and vocals.


Amazon, iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, Lala, eMusic, Nokia, Liquid, MEdia Net, PassAlong, Puretracks, SNOCAP, and SpiralFrog are now doing Tom Hanway music downloads. Most recently, iTunes uploaded Hanway's three albums as MP3s. Please go to iTunes and search under "Tom Hanway", "Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon" or "Tom Hanway & Vassar Clements". Or, please check out TomHanway.com for album covers, liner notes and quick MP3 downloads. Tom Hanway: Bucket of Bees (13 tracks), Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon (15 tracks) and Tom Hanway & Vassar Clements: The Badbelly Project: Hesitation Blues (14 tracks) are now available as digital downloads in the following formats: (1) as entire albums, (2) a la carte (all 42 songs), and (3) as ringtones.

On Bucket of Bees I had just gotten into composing tunes in a Celtic style, e.g., 'Morgaine's Hornpipe', but this was a traditional and contemporary bluegrass/newgrass record. Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas were in their Telluride Sessions period, so this recording, especially 'Bucket of Bees', has that vibe. It was an exciting time to be recording in Nashville and New York - and this album features the top bluegrass session men from both towns. Bil VornDick, the legendary Nashville engineer and producer, helped me organise the pickers for the Nashville session - he made that session happen. He also made me produce, but I kept asking Jerry, Sam and Stuart Duncan advice, and I took it! 'Elephant Hop' from that CD made it onto Prime Cuts of Bluegrass, Vol. 1, and in a national bluegrass survey was voted the Number One track by bluegrass deejays, narrowly edging out Earl Scruggs' and John McEuen's recording of 'Carolina Traveler' - ensuring me airplay and distribution with County Sales (Record Depot) at the time.


Tom Hanway is proud to announce that he has teamed up with songwriter Ruth Dillon and Bernie O'Mahony in Hazard Hollow, an original and contemporary bluegrass/country outfit.

Hazard Hollow has two shows this weekend at The Crane Bar in Galway, on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of December, 9:30pm.


American bluegrass composer, banjoist and guitarist Tom Hanway, now living in Ireland, has hit a major milestone by signing a worldwide distribution deal with Digital Revolution Entertainment for his three releases, originally on Joyous Gard Records. All music from Tom Hanway: Bucket of Bees (13 tracks), Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon (15 tracks) and Tom Hanway & Vassar Clements: The Badbelly Project (14 tracks) will be available as digital downloads in the following formats: (1) as entire albums, (2) a la carte (all 42 songs), and (3) as ringtones. Amazon, Napster, Rhapsody, Lala, and eMusic were the first to offer MP3 downloads (on 11/11/2008), with iTunes, Nokia, Liquid, MEdia Net, PassAlong, Puretracks, SNOCAP, SpiralFrog, and more online music stores to follow.

Tom Hanway: Bucket of Bees, featuring Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, David Grier and Tony Trischka, was recorded in New York City and Nashville, Tennessee, produced by Tony Trischka, Larry Cohen and Tom Hanway. Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon, featuring Vassar Clements, Mark Schatz and Roy Huskey, Jr., was recorded in Nashville, produced by Tom Hanway and engineered by Bil VornDick. Tom Hanway & Vassar Clements: The Badbelly Project, featuring Larry Campbell and Lucy Kaplansky, was recorded in the Bronx, New York, co-produced by Lincoln Schleifer and Tom Hanway.


Ruth Dillon and Tom Hanway
Ruth Dillon and Tom Hanway
photo: Denise Hanway

On Thursday night, 20 November, Hazard Hollow, featuring Ruth Dillon, Bernie O’Mahony and Tom Hanway, will play traditional and original bluegrass and country songs at the Phoenix Folk Club, at Downey’s, Grange Cross, 343 Ballyfermot Rd. The show begins at 9.00 pm.

Ruth Dillon (vocals/guitar) will perform a few of her original songs and sing duets with Bernie, backed by Tom Hanway's hot banjo. Ruth, originally from Clonmel, Co.Tipperary, has toured the world with folksinger Dolores Keane and played on several projects with Tom in recent years, with Bernie and Ivor Ottley (fiddle) recording Hazard Hollow’s debut CD, which will be available on the night.

Bernie O’Mahony (vocals/guitar), originally from Waterford, is a professional studio singer and recording artist who has performed with Sean Tyrrell’s highly acclaimed show The Midnight Court. She and Ruth have been collaborating in Galway in recent years, performing at the Dunmore East International Bluegrass Festival, touring in Ireland and America, and holding down a monthly residency at the prestigious Crane Bar in Galway.

Ruth, Bernie and Tom are a harmony tour de force, with each taking turns singing lead and backing the others in the grand traditions of American bluegrass and country music.

Back to Tom Hanway's main page...