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Brian McNeal


Prescription Bluegrass is excited to make the announcement that Niall Toner of Ireland will be joining the Prescription Bluegrass CD REVIEW TEAM!

Not only is he a renowned performer and songwriter, but Niall Toner is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s leading experts on Bluegrass and American Country Music. When he's not on stage performing with The Niall Toner Band, you can find him on the air in Ireland with his radio show, ROOTS FREEWAY which is broadcast on Ireland's National Radio Station, RTE Radio One.

Niall will be putting his expertise to work for Prescription Bluegrass with critiques of European Bluegrass CD Releases for the Prescription Bluegrass CD Review Team. First up, Niall will review the Italian bluegrass band, RED WINE's latest effort – RED.

Niall's first review (for the Italian Bluegrass Band, RED WINE) was published this week on The Prescription Bluegrass Blog CD Review Page


Brian McNeal, chief editor for the Prescription Bluegrass Blog where the reviews are published said he has long recognized the need for better coverage of the European Bluegrass community. “When we were ready to branch out and begin serving the European bluegrass fans and musicians, I couldn't think of anyone other than Niall Toner to do the job. I have the utmost respect for him and couldn't be more thrilled that he agreed to join us. Being a songwriter, performing and recording musician and radio announcer makes him triple-qualified to critique others' work.”

European Bluegrass artists, bands and their management should send recently released CDs for review consideration directly to Niall at the following address:

Niall Toner, Presenter,

Roots Freeway,

RTE Radio One,

Donnybrook, Dublin 4




Niall was born in Dublin, Ireland and nurtured an early interest in music by tuning in to Radio Luxemburg and the AFN radio service from Germany. The Saturday night re-broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry from Nashville was his first exposure to Country music, and when a local school-friend showed up with a collection that included the music of Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, The Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers, Niall's musical fate was sealed. 

Niall’s composition credits include songs recorded by artists like Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones), The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Albert Lee, Special Consensus, Keith Sewell, The Swanson Family and more. In 2003 Toner was nominated for a Global Artist Award by the CMA.

His latest album, ONWARDS and UPWARDS on Pinecastle Records received unprecedented chart action, reaching number one on Airplay Directs' ALL GENRES download chart in February of this year. In March he received the first-ever European Bluegrass Music Association's Personality of the Year Award to recognize his influence in to establish or popularize Bluegrass in the European Community. And just Spring Niall launched the release of his first book – a how-to Songwriting Book, THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF SONGWRITING.

Niall and the Niall Toner Band perform their original songs and tunes on a regular basis at Festivals and Venues in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA.


The Prescription Bluegrass Blog reviews Acoustic Bluegrass CDs that have been released within the previous 12 month period.  Recording artists do not need to be on major labels for review consideration.   Niall Toner is the contact for all European Bluegrass artists. Other artists should contact Brian McNeal at: for submission and mailing instructions.

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