A musician from Cornwall is gaining national attention and has featured with his band, Newton Country, on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show.
Olly Henwood, a former Truro and Penwith College student, formed Newton Country with Róisín McNeill and Joe Coombs when they met at Bath Spa University.
All three are in the second year of a Commercial Music course, but they have been delighting music fans with their country, Americana and roots style.
Newton Country has proven so popular the band was welcomed at the start of the month onto Dermot O’Leary’s show, which champions the best in British new music.
Henwood said “it still doesn't feel like it happened”.
“It's so strange, but amazing at the same time and we can't believe that we had the opportunity to play to such a large audience.”
Being on the show was “very relaxing and everyone made us feel at home and cared about us” he added, revealing that “Dermot and his team were very chatty and lovely to speak to”.
Henwood said that his time studying at Truro and Penwith College “was extremely important”.
“It was my first real step into working in bands and with other musicians,” he asserted.
“I learned lots of skills musically, as well as how to work with different kinds of people. The lecturers were a great help because they would guide us and would always be prepared to give us a helping hand. Finally, without the facilities such as the studios and the band rooms I don't think I would be where I am today. I had never worked in a studio before college so I picked up a lot of knowledge whilst studying there, which prepared me for university very well.”
Popular Music Lecturer at Truro and Penwith College, Toby Seth, said “it is always fantastic to see our former students doing so well”.
“Olly was a great student, and his performance work and song writing was outstanding,” he continued.
“He could probably have turned his hand to any musical style, but the fact that he is now in a successful country band is brilliant because he always had roots in country in his college band.
“It is great that he has continued his hard work at Bath Spa. Olly has shown that hard work pays off and it is another great success story for the music course at Truro and Penwith College, showing that we really are the place to come to for any young musician wanting to study music when they finish school.”
Also attracting positive reviews, College band Violet Avenue performed on the BBC Radio Cornwall stage at the Royal Cornwall Show.
The members are the next group who will be attending university in September and moving onto the next stage of their music careers.
Newton Country are currently on tour until the end of June.
“We are having a short break over the summer, but when we return in early September we will start working on an album to be released in the first half on 2017,” Henwood said.
“We will still be gigging as we have started booking a few dates in September, October and November and hopefully work towards some festival gigs next summer.”
For more information on Newton Country head to newtoncountry.co.uk, and to find out more about Truro and Penwith College’s music courses call 01872 267000 or visit www.truro-penwith.ac.uk