Since leaving TNT in 2006, Harnell has been recording hard rock, metal and acoustic rock albums and has been putting on entertaining acoustic shows to sold-out crowds in the the New York City area with his current backing group, which features guitarist Jason Hagen, Amy Harnell (vocals, percussion) and newest member, Cassandra Sotos (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, MARK WOOD), on seven-string electric violin.
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Harnell met 20 years ago when Tony was forming a new band after TNT took a break in 1992, and in January 2012, Ron and Tony were reunited at the NAMM convention in Anaheim, California, where they started discussing the possibility of working together.
After Ron attended one of Tony’s performances in August, which Thal proclaimed was “the best acoustic show he had ever seen,” Tony, being a fan of Ron’s otherworldly and original fretwork, asked if he’d like to join him on the project and contribute to his EP, which was already underway. Harnell states: “In addition to Ron’s superhuman and beautiful guitarplaying, he also happens to have a great voice and writes amazing songs, which will greatly add to this project both live and in the studio.” Thal has also been a longtime fan of Harnell’s songwriting and vocal artistry, so the new coalition seems more than natural.
The group has also announced the launch of a Pledge Music campaign, which allows the fans to contribute to and watch the making of the EP. A portion of the proceeds from the campaign will go to Breast Cancer Research.
With the new lineup and EP on the way, the group will tour nationally and internationally as a foursome featuring Harnell, Thal, Amy Harnell and Sotos under the name TONY HARNELL AND THE WILDFLOWERS FEATURING BUMBLEFOOT. Hagen will remain an integral part of songwriting and recording and will be appearing with the group for local performances. Harnell adds: “Ron’s live appearances with this project will be subject to his schedule with GN’R, but he’ll be with us for the live shows whenever possible.”
The project already has shows booked in Vegas and Europe as well as the prestigious, soon to be re-opened Cutting Room in New York City, which has relocated and is being touted as one of the coolest new venues in the city.
Harnell and Thal have also been discussing other plans for a full electric band and have already started to reach out to some well-known musicians to join them. “That’ll manifest after the acoustic EP, which is due out in early 2013,” says Harnell.
Tony Harnell Bio (2012)
Tony Harnell’s voice is likely the most powerful one you’ll discover this year. Or should we say rediscover. With nearly 30 albums under his belt, he’s no stranger to the world of rock and has a distinctive voice with a range and strength that few others can achieve. Tony brings decades of stage experience – most notably as the lead singer of the Norwegian hard rockers TNT, during their most successful years – as well as a multitude of distinguished awards. Among them are numerous gold and platinum awards; sold out concerts worldwide; 5 top requested MTV videos; as well as a Grammy in Norway for “Rock Album of the Year”. The beauty of the human voice, particularly in one so talented and diverse, is that it continues to grow and Tony taps into new and old influences alike to bring a richness found only in those who truly evolve. As one of his fans recently said “most voices, I just hear – and like or don’t like – but Tony’s voice you feel. It buries into your soul and rests like a nugget of musical gold.” If you haven’t heard Tony sing recently, prepare yourself to be impressed. Driven by his life-long love of music – not the fame – he pulls his listener in with his warm and honest approach and personality. Hearing Tony live is anything but commercial, indeed one leaves feeling as if they’ve been invited to a private affair and blessed by the voice of genius. You may not yet have heard of Tony Harnell, but once you do, you’ll never forget him. Be careful, he may just become your new favorite singer, it happens all the time! Look for concerts and brand new music in 2013!