British Bluegrass With A Texas Twang

AustinImage634910800240615512 Gets British Bluegrassers and Western Swing band, The Toy Hearts.

The band, made up of Stewart Johnson and his two daughters; Hannah and Sophia, are headed  for Texas next May. Hannah said  “There is just so much more going on in America. – more opportunities for us.”

The group just recently returned to the UK from a 3-week, 14-stop tour based out of Austin last summer and this wasn’t their first time. They have been coming to the Texas/Oklahoma area for at least the last three years.

The group has struggled to find clubs in and around Birmingham for their particular sound. “Birmingham is my home town and I will always love it but there is not much going on for bluegrass and western swing. We’re it,” Hannah said.

Hannah, 27, and Sophia, 30, were raised on the music because 63-year-old Stewart grew to love it as a 14/15-year-old living in Germany, where his dad was stationed in the army.

“He first heard it through the American Forces Network radio, being played for the American troops,” says Hannah.

A skilled musician who plays the banjo, dobro guitar and lap steel, Stewart was persuaded to join the band with his daughters when they were still teenagers.

“We said ‘this is something we want to do and we don’t know any more banjo players. Will you please join us?’

“He said yes – on the condition we got a residency and did a show a week.

“Those years between 2001 and 2006 were really important for building our live show. We were just kids so we learnt on the job. It was good training.”

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