Tom Hanway is an American 5-string banjoist, guitarist and composer. He wears many musical hats, produces and does studio session work on both sides of the Atlantic, regularly traveling back and forth between Ireland and the United States playing and collecting tunes. Tom learned to play the banjo in the 1980s, studying with Tony Trischka and Bill Keith, also being inspired by the playing of Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, J.D. Crowe, Jerry Garcia, B.la Fleck, and Vassar Clements.
In the late 80s and early 90s he worked with the John Herald Band (former Greenbriar Boys), Blue Horizon, Burnt Toast, and with Kenny Kosek in the off-Broadway bluegrass musical Feast Here Tonight. Hanway has also performed in concert with Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, Rick Danko and Levon Helm. He was co-promoter of the Big Apple Bluegrass & Folk Festival in New York City (1997 -2002). Since the publication of his seminal work in 1998, Complete Book of Irish & Celtic 5-String Banjo, Hanway has pioneered "Celtic fingerstyle banjo." Bluegrass Unlimited wrote in January 1999: "What Earl Scruggs' book did for bluegrass banjo, Tom Hanway's book may well do for the 5 -string in Irish and Celtic music and will certainly become regarded as 'the bible' for any 5-string player with an interest in this joyous music." A Mel Bay best-seller this book has gained Tom many followers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Tom is a fan of traditional music from all over the world and enjoys working with different artists. He has played on dozens of recordings on both sides of the Atlantic and has produced multiple recordings. On these recordings, Tom enlisted bluegrass luminaries Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Vassar Clements, David Grier, Bill Keith, Mark Schatz, and Tony Trischka, and received rave reviews. In 1997 Hanway teamed up with banjo manufacturer Geoff Stelling to co-design the Stelling SwallowTail Deluxe and Standard banjo, a production model instrument used by Steve Martin.