News of new music from Niall Toner always raises expectations; what historic characters, events or creative stories has he woven into his songs since the last album?
So, you go to Delphi .. sorry, the oracle, Niall Toner, himself.
On this occasion Toner finds an Irish soldier, Myles Keogh (or Kehoe), who as a 20 year old had volunteered to serve in the Papal Army before being recruited into the Union Army during the American Civil War, and serving for a time as an important officer in General John Buford’s 1st Division, Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, and ending up as a prisoner of war.
After the war, Keogh obtained a commission as a captain in the 7th U.S. Cavalry commanded by Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Keogh’s restless spirit led him to a premature death along with about 400 comrades in the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn in what was Montana Territory on June 25, 1876. He was just 36 years of age.
Myles Walter Keogh, as penned by Toner, and co-writer and band-mate Johnny Gleeson, is a ballad that tells the story of Keogh, who was born in Leighlinbridge, about ten miles from where Toner lives, in County Carlow.
The Niall Toner Band’s recording of the song will be released as a single on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, to coincide with the 143rd anniversary of the battle.
Tracking was done ”half-and-half between Orchard Studios in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland, and The Toolshed in Nashville, Tennessee. Keith Sewell played guitar and mandolin, Paddy Kiernan played 5-string banjo, Johnny Gleeson played dobro, Richard Gladney played bass,” Toner said. “I sang lead vocals, with Keith Sewell on tenor harmony, and Keith also programmed drums/cymbals. A true across-the-big-pond-collaboration,” he adds.
A performance video of Myles Walter Keogh, featuring Toner and the band, directed and filmed by filmmaker, photographer and designer Fiaz Farrelly, is to be released simultaneously on YouTube.
In the meantime, Toner has graciously shared this audio clip:
Myles Walter Keogh is just one of the new songs and tunes taken from the upcoming sixth all-original album from The Niall Toner Band, Between the Stone Fox and the Culm Crusher, on Avalon Records, due for release in late 2019.
For those interested in Irish-American history this video provides a brief overview of Keogh’s military life.