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The WDVX Blue Plate Special – 10/25 – Daphne Parker Powell & Kieran Ledwidge / Henry Toland & Chris Beland

October 25, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Henry Toland is an indie-folk singer songwriter from Florida. He is a self-proclaimed “wanderer” and has lived many lives in many places. He has been an innkeeper on the eastern shore of Virginia, an Uber driver in California, an itinerant carpenter in Scotland, and a junk dealer in the wilderness of central Florida, all the while collecting poignant experiences that become the souls of his songs.

When Chris Beland picks up the phone to do an interview for this bio, a friend is having a baby in the living room of his Arroyo Grande home as a chorus of roosters crow in the background. It’s an apt thing to happen to Beland — not only because his life has been anything but traditional, but also because his forty-plus years on this Earth have been replete with beginnings and endings, a constant cycle of rebirth.

A musician in the style of troubadours like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Andrew Bird, Beland first fell in love with music at age five when his grandmother played him a Willie Nelson record. “I remember the needle hitting the record and hearing that scratch, sitting next to the speaker, mesmerized. It was magic,” he recalls. After his grandfather bought him a guitar when he was six, the Santa Maria native careened through the genres; the first song he wrote was a rap for his school’s D.A.R.E. program, and then he moved on to playing drums in a junior high band, and, finally, guitar in a hardcore band in high school.

Beland’s life took a turn, however, when he got his girlfriend pregnant at age 15 and got married. The two dabbled in drugs and, after they broke up, Beland was homeless for a time — before he met a woman in front of 7-11, where he was playing guitar, who offered to get him help at a rehab in San Diego. After being forced to throw away all his grunge CDs, he entered rehab at age 17, where he fell in love with religious music.


Kieran Ledwidge. When I was 6, my kindergarten teacher suggested I’d be the kind of kid who’d take to an instrument – the violin in particular. Taking it on faith the adults knew something I didn’t, I started on violin shortly thereafter, kicking off my ongoing obsession with the instrument and music generally. I added piano the next year, and guitar a few years after that. Piano has almost always played second fiddle to my violin studies, however I have performed with distinction on the instrument most notably in a performance of Mendelssohn’s demanding Piano Trio No. 1 for a capacity audience at Sydney Town Hall in 2000. Guitar filled in time between the other two, but was my principal instrument in my first band and continues to prove an invaluable addition to my composition and recording work. I’ve been writing music for as long as I’ve been playing it. I have won awards for my work – classical and otherwise – from the age of 10 (winning a state composition competition with a four movement string quartet inspired by the Australian rainforest).

As a founding member of the Nova Youth Orchestra, I received a wonderful education in ensemble playing. Thanks to the dedication of its brilliant musical directors and supportive parents, the NYO grew to become Sydney’s premiere youth string orchestra. Over the course of my 11 years of regular membership, I toured with them nationally and internationally, composed and arranged works which were performed on those tours and locally, and went on to serve as concertmaster for 4 years until 2002 when I left Australia for the US – though leaving was as much a surprise to me as anyone.



October 25, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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301 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902 United States
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