Niall Toner named EBMA European Bluegrass Personality of the Year

Niall TonerIrish bluegrass balladeer Niall Toner has just been announced as the recipient of the first annual EBMA European Bluegrass Personality of the Year award.

It will be presented on March 16 during the 5th annual Bluegrass Summit in Prague.

This new award is part of the EBMA Bluegrass Pioneers & Personalities Project, which is formally described as follows:

With this project EBMA intends to recognize and acknowledge the past and present most influential European musicians, promoters, journalists, dj’s, luthiers, experts, etc… who contributed, and still contribute, in a relevant and significant way to establish or popularize the Bluegrass music genre in Europe, and to create a European Bluegrass scene and community.

Niall tells us that he won’t be able to attend the presentation ceremony, but will be able to accept via video-link. Martino Coppo will physically accept on Toner’s behalf.

Onwards and Upwards - Niall Toner“I am very honored and humbled to be chosen as the EBMA Bluegrass Personality of the Year for 2012, and delighted to have my work as a Songwriter, Performer and Band Leader recognized by my bluegrass music peers in this way.

I am privileged to have been introduced to the music of Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys when I was in my early ‘teens, and that began my life-long affair with this wonderful musical form. I set out with great purpose in 2001 to compose and perform and promote my own original songs and instrumentals in bluegrass style, and since then I have achieved more than I could have ever dreamed of, with four original Albums, and many of my songs recorded by my heroes like The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Special Consensus, and Red Wine.

My own current album, Onwards and Upwards, on Pinecastle Records, is doing great business in the bluegrass heartland, and Canada and Australia, and currently holds the number one slot for Radio Downloads on the Air Play Direct digital platform in the US.

So, thanks to all my fellow Musicians, and EBMA, for this award. It will take pride of place on my sideboard, and I will continue to try and measure up to being EBMA Bluegrass Personality of the Year.

Onwards and Upwards …”

Congratulations, Niall. Well deserved.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.