Hadley Music Group

Ilya Toshinskiy is a banjo player from Russia and a founding member of the band Bering Strait. Learning to play banjo in Russia for a young lad was a difficult endeavor requiring a serious commitment and perseverance. He was training as a classical guitarist, but when he heard a fellow student playing banjo, he was hooked. He used photos of banjo tabs and made picks from tin cans and melted plastic rulers and kept at it. At his final exam recital at Moscow’s Russian music academy, he featured “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and a Bela Fleck composition.

He soon went on to co-found Bering Strait and the group of teenagers moved to Nashville in the 1990s. The band received a Grammy nomination in 2003 featuring Toshinskiy. He started getting session work after the band broke up in 2006 and has won some awards as a top session musician, including twice awarded Academy of Country Music’s Player of the Year. Artists he has recorded with include Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, The Doobie Brothers, and Rascal Flatts.

He has now produced his first project of original all-instrumental compositions which gives him the opportunity to stretch out. He’s joined in the studio by a talented cadre of musicians including Bryan Sutton (guitar), Andy Leftwich (fiddle and mandolin), Jerry Douglas (resonator guitar), Byron House (bass), Luke Bulla (fiddle)., Sam Bush (mandolin), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle and mandolin), and Jake Stargel (guitar). Selections include title “Red Grass,” along with “Close To Home,” “Train Station,” “Melissa’s Song,” “Birch Leaf” (with just banjo and bass), and “Swan Song” (a banjo solo). This is a really nice project from a solid musician. (

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