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Black Mountain Harmonica

by Tony Eyers

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Stoney Point 03:27
Toms Creek 02:22
Erin's Shore 02:07


“The last time I heard skill of this level was at the SPAH convention final concert in 1985”, Colin Mort, “Harmonica World”, UK

Original Liner notes:

"Fiddle tunes underpin Irish and American traditional music. Over time,
only the best tunes survive, and enter the standard repertoire.
This forms a common language, which is shared by musicians
everywhere. Fiddle tunes are played on many instruments,
for example the mandolin, guitar and banjo in Bluegrass, and whistle,
pipes and accordion in the Irish tradition.

The diatonic harmonica however is known mostly as a blues
instrument, and is not often used for fiddle tunes.
In particular, the "cross" position adopted by most blues players
eliminates notes needed for these tunes. Also, the bending
techniques needed for some notes are difficult in fast melodies.
The standard "Richter" harmonica tuning was developed for solo playing (not blues), to allow chords and melodies to be played together. While some manage this style beautifully, it is difficult at high tempos.

To address these problems, and to play this wonderful music,
I developed a different tuning system for diatonic harmonicas.
This allows a playing style which more easily matches the swift tempos of Bluegrass and Irish players. The fiddle tunes on this recording, all from the traditional repertoire, use this modified tuning.

A word about the instruments. Based on the pioneering work of Joe Filisko, Australian maker Neil Graham has developed harmonicas
which combine fast response with enormous power. These instruments easily prevail in demanding acoustic sessions, and are used in this recording."

This album, released in 2003, was my take back then on bluegrass and Irish traditional tunes for harmonica. My brother, musician and studio engineer Quentin Eyers, told me that every note counted, and made me start over keep at it until they all did.

Other reviews:

“I’ve never heard this material played so smoothly on a standard diatonic, Richard Hunter, USA

“Black Mountain Harmonica is a relentless acoustic onslaught of wonderful sparkling traditional fiddle music played with consummate skill and competence”, John McDougall, “Woodstock”, Australia

“The tone that Eyers captures on this disk is as delightfully different in the harmonica world as his harmonies” Doug Bright, “Heritage Music Review”, USA

“Out of Australia comes an album of authentic fiddle tunes beautifully rendered on harmonica by Tony Eyers”, Rick Beall, USA

“Tony’s debut CD is chuck full of fiddle tunes, all done so well that I think I will retire my traditional fiddle tune albums”, George Davis, “Harmonica Happenings”, USA


released November 1, 2003

Tony Eyers Harmonicas
John Bridgland Mandolin, Guitar (1,2,5,8,9,13)
Quentin Eyers Guitar (7,12), Snare Drum, Banjo, Bass
Darren Mullan Piano
Produced by Tony Eyers and Quentin Eyers
Recorded at Quentin Eyers Music (QEM), Hindmarsh, Adelaide
August-October 2003
Additional recording at Helena Studios, Sydney
Engineered by Quentin Eyers and Darren Mullan
Mastered by Neville Clark, Disk-Edits, Adelaide
Photography by Max Lloyd, Sydney
Artwork and Layout by Riccardo Tossani, Tokyo


Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.



Tony Eyers Sydney, Australia

Tony Eyers is well known in the harmonica world for his traditional tune recordings. His Major Cross harmonica tuning, developed for the traditional repertoire, has been adopted by the Seydel harmonica company. He bas been a judge four times at the Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival, and has taught widely through his Harmonica Academy site. ... more

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