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Playing Since: 1985
Experience Level: Expert/Professional
Tom Hanway has made 87 recent additions to Banjo Hangout
[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]
Occupation: Musician, Composer, Recording Artist, Author
(1) Tom Hanway SwallowTail Deluxe and (2) Standard, co-designed with Geoff Stelling in 1998, and (3) Nechville Meteor (acoustic/electric) with the "Galaxy" inlay pattern. I also have a 1918 Van Eps tenor which I inherited from my grandfather, John Hanway, who got it as a freshman and played it in the Yale Mandolin and Banjo Club. It has recently been restored by Tom Cussen (Clareen Banjos) of Clarinbridge, Co. Galway, Ireland. I fool around and play a bit of "trad" on it (traditional Irish music).
In no particular order: Tony Trischka, Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Don Reno (father and son), Ralph Stanley, Béla Fleck, Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements, David Bromberg, Tim O'Brien, Herb Pedersen, Sonny Osborne, Bill Emerson, Raymond Fairchild, Eddie Adcock, Bill Keith, Allen Shelton, Butch Robins, Sammy Shelor, Jim Mills, Scott Vestal, The Beatles, The Stones, the Grateful Dead, Jorma Kaukonen, New Grass Revival, Sam Bush, Stringbean (for his humanity), Joni Mitchell, Gram Parsons, Roy Huskey, Jr., The Bothy Band, Altan, Michael Coleman, Cream, Hendrix, Carole King, James Taylor, Johnson Mountain Boys, Andy McGann, Tommy Peoples, Tony DeMarco, Hot Rize, Doc Watson, Rev. Gary Davis, Jesse Fuller, all the great bluesmen, all the early R&B and jazz cats. I love jugbands, skiffle bands, jam bands, and the like.
My dad, "Wild Jack", who showed the whole family what great fun it is to jam with old jazz recordings. I was tapping my foot to traditional jazz and Big Band music at a very impressionable age. I learned a lot of jazz tunes that way, melodies for which I have not title, which is another project. So many tunes, so little time!
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Last Visit 5/17/2013
Tom Hanway is an American 5-string banjoist, guitarist and composer. He wears many musical hats, produces and does studio session work on both sides of the Atlantic. Tom learned to play the banjo in the 1980s, studying with Tony Trischka and Bill Keith, also being inspired by the playing of Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, J.D. Crowe, Jerry Garcia, Béla Fleck, and Vassar Clements. In the late 80s and early 90s he worked with the John Herald Band (former Greenbriar Boys), Blue Horizon, Burnt Toast, and with Kenny Kosek in the off-Broadway bluegrass musical Feast Here Tonight. Hanway has also performed in concert with Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, Rick Danko and Levon Helm. He was co-promoter with Kathleen Low Hanway (1960-2002) of the Big Apple Bluegrass & Folk Festival in New York City (1997-2002).<p>
Since the publication of his seminal work in 1998, Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo (MB 95759 BCD), Hanway has pioneered “Celtic fingerstyle banjo.” Bluegrass Unlimited wrote in January 1999: “What Earl Scruggs’ book did for bluegrass banjo, Tom Hanway’s book may well do for the 5-string in Irish and Celtic music, and will certainly become regarded as ‘the bible’ for any 5-string player with an interest in this joyous music.” This is a Mel Bay best-seller and has won Tom many converts on both sides of the Atlantic.<p>
Tom is a fan of traditional music from all over the world and enjoys working with different artists. He has played on dozens of recordings on both sides of the Atlantic and has produced three recordings on the Joyous Gard Records label. For his debut CD, Bucket of Bees (1991), Tom enlisted bluegrass luminaries Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Vassar Clements, David Grier, Bill Keith, Mark Schatz, and Tony Trischka. Recorded in Nashville and New York City, this groundbreaking CD got rave reviews and a full-page “Highlight” review in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. Hanway’s ‘Elephant Hop’ was chosen for KBC’s Prime Cuts of Bluegrass, Volume 1, and in a Nationwide Poll was voted “No. 1” by America's top bluegrass deejays, Tom’s original tune edging out a powerhouse duet (‘Carolina Traveler’) recorded by banjoists Earl Scruggs and John McEuen. Bucket of Bees features seven original instrumentals and incorporates bluegrass, newgrass, Celtic and jazz.<p>
Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon further reveals Tom's skills as a tunesmith, arranger and producer. Hanway (alias “Badbelly”) also sings traditional country blues and gospel songs, fingerpicking guitar and 5-string banjo. Renowned fiddler Vassar Clements (1928-2005) joins him on his tour de force blues-guitar project: The Badbelly Project: Hesitation Blues. Vassar Clements plays on all of Hanway’s Joyous Gard recordings.<p>
In 1997 Hanway teamed up with banjo manufacturer Geoff Stelling to co-design the Stelling SwallowTail Deluxe and Standard banjo, a production model instrument. The SwallowTail has become a popular model for Stelling, used for bluegrass, Celtic and other styles of music, with actor Steve Martin purchasing one true to Tom's original model.<p>
Tom Hanway is a musical shape-shifter, a veteran of many styles of music who feels blessed to be working in life with other like-minded artists at something that he loves. Tom teaches, tours, and plays constantly. He regularly travels back and forth between Ireland and the United States playing and collecting tunes.<p>
Bucket of Bees (Joyous Gard Records, 1991)
Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon (Joyous Gard Records, 1992)
Burnt Toast (Joyous Gard Records, 1996)
Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo (Mel Bay Publications, Inc., 1998)
Grillbillies Album, Volumes 1 and 2 (Yee Haw Records, 1999)
The Badbelly Project: Hesitation Blues (Joyous Gard Records, 2005
Mel Bay's Easy Irish and Celtic Session Tunes for 5-String Banjo: Best-Loved Jigs and Reels (Mel Bay Publications, Inc., 2012
Mel Bay's Easy Irish and Celtic Melodies for 5-String Banjo: Best-Loved Airs and Session Tunes (Mel Bay Publications, Inc., 2013)<p>
Official Website: www.tomhanway.com