Two instruments and a pack of strings, and Matthew Hornell and Andrew Sneddon have all they need for a tour of the island.
Matthew Hornell will be touring the island with his friend Andrew Sneddon of the The Modern Grass, starting with a show in Corner Brook tonight. — Submitted photo by Keenan Doggone
Hornell, a four-time MusicNL winner and recent East Coast Music Award nominee, and Sneddon, of Nova Scotia bluegrass group The Modern Grass, will be hitting the road, stopping in the regular spots like St. John's, Gander, Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor (Hornell's hometown), as well as some smaller venues, in places like Happy Adventure, Pasadena and Twillingate.
The duo will be playing acoustic versions of some of their individual songs, some traditional tunes, maybe a few covers, and testing out some new original music, to be featured on their upcoming record as a duo, set to be released at the end of October.
Hornell, who has lived in Nova Scotia for the past three years, first chatted with Sneddon about doing an acoustic album together about a year ago, when they were roommates.
"We thought it was going to be an album of all covers, but that changed," Hornell explained. "I'm writing new tunes that I edit through Andrew, and he's got a couple of tunes. We've been friends for quite some time and we like the same music and we can work well together."
Writing and recording as a duo is a different process for Hornell, who has two albums already under his belt: "Matthew Hornell and the Diamond Minds," and last year's "Have It All." Staying the same is one-dimensional, he said, and he's not interested in it, but he'll continue with his solo work as his main project.
"I don't want to just keep it the same and grow on that. This feels different than anything I've ever done before, therefore it's exciting and challenging. There's growth and as long as it's musically sound, I'm into it."
Hornell has been honing his picking skills since his last record, and has been slowly incorporating bluegrass and traditional tunes into his repertoire — simply because they're good songs, he said, and he wants to share them.
Sneddon, who plays as a side musician with David Myles and Alan Jeffries, brings some great skills and experience to the duo, Hornell said.
"Andrew is one of the best support men that I can think of. He offers a precision, a musical finesse, and he's a great singer. He loves Newfoundland and is really happy to be going back."
Hornell and Sneddon will start their tour Saturday at Swirsky's in Corner Brook, then play Woody Point, Rocky Harbour, Grand Falls-Windsor, Twillingate, The Ship in St. John's, Placentia, Port Rexton and Gander, before ending up in Pasadena, July 23. After that it's back to the Maritimes for the CODIAC Festival in Moncton.
Tickets for the Corner Brook show are available at Brewed Awakening on Bernard, while tickets for the St. John's gig can be bought at Fred's Records on Duckworth Street. Tickets for the other shows are available at the individual venues. Details can be found on Hornell's website at www.matthewhornell.com.