The current season, episode 15, (415) of the American soap series Nashville, broadcast on Wednesday, April 15, featured two of Irish bluegrass mandolin player Niall Toner’s tunes.
The instrumentals, composed about 15 years ago – Drunken Daisy, written Toner says “as a tribute to a friend in Bunclody, County Wexford, who was fond of a pint!”; and You Gotta Have a Banjo In The Band, “composed after a trip to the bluegrass clubs of England, before we actually had a banjo in the band” – were both written, recorded, and released in 2000 on Toner’s first album, There’s a Better Way, on Avalon Records.
Toner adds, “Bill Whelan, [doyen of clawhammer banjo in Ireland] and Richard Hawkins [of Dublin-based band Woodbine] feature on banjo on this [second] track”.
The producers of Nashville, specifically T-Bone Burnette, chose another Niall Toner piece, Lonely Souls and Broken Hearts, for use in the program two years ago. The song was included on the Niall Toner Band 2005 CD Mood Swing, also on Avalon Records.
You can purchase the recording of Drunken Daisy/ You Gotta Have A Banjo In The Band and all twelve tracks of the album There’s a Better Way from iTunes
Toner’s earliest success when pitching songs was when Bill Wyman (of Rolling Stones fame) and his Band, the Rhythm Kings, recorded Mood Swing, followed by cuts with The Nashville Bluegrass Band with There’s a Better Way, and Special Consensus with Josie’s Reel.
The first substantial usage came when Grand Theft Auto IV used a tune of Niall’s called A Real Reel.