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Janet Dowd: Bio


Janet Dowd hails from Co.Armagh in Northern Ireland and has been singing and performing for over 20 years with various bands both in Ireland and England.

She has been involved in a wide range of musical ventures singing with a folk/skiffle band called the Dangerous Dining Club when living in Carlisle, a large local swing band, a folk, country and blues band and a 5 piece concert band.

She has also collaborated with Rachel Toman from Lurgan, to form Avita Event Music, providing musical arrangements for special occasions (details in 'Event Music' section of website).


She is also a vocal coach offering singing lessons from her home in Co.Armagh.

She recorded her first album, Janet Dowd '300 Miles',  at In The Shade Studios, Markethill ( ) and released it on Blue Cow Records in 2010. The album is a collection of traditional folk songs with a hint of bluegrass sway, inspired by the many talented musicians and wonderful songs discovered during numerous trips round Ireland and Scotland. The tracks take you through a torrent of emotions, from the moving and poignant ‘John Condon’ to the uplifting and lively ‘Wayfaring Stranger’.

Since its release, it has received considerable radio airplay on several BBC Radio stations as well as local radio shows in Ireland, UK, Europe & the USA. Live appearances include; Gerry Anderson Show (BBC Radio Ulster), Colum Sands ‘Folk Club’ (BBC Radio Ulster), Charlie McGettigans ‘Saturday Connection’ (Shannonside Radio) and Dessie Fishers ‘For Folk Sake’ (Drive 105 FM).

During the past year, the album has been number 1 in Irish Music Magazine, and her version of the song ‘John Condon’ was named the BBC Radio Devon song of the year for 2010 on Richard Digance’s show ‘Devon Folk’.


In September 2013, she released her second highly anticipated album 'Sailing Away' also on Blue Cow Records which was recorded and produced by the extremely talented multi-instrumentalist Jonny Toman in his Lurgan studio. It is a collection of songs celebrating a fusion of Folk and Americana music and features top musicians from Ireland and Nashville.

The line up includes Jonny Toman, Eamon McLoughlin (Nashville), Sean Og Graham, Danny Sheerin, Sinead McKenna, Mervyn Dowd, Brendan Goff & Alison Crossey.


Janet has collaborated with an exceptional group of local musicians to perform in venues all over Ireland. The ‘Janet Dowd Band’ are: Janet Dowd (Vocals), Mervyn Dowd (Guitar & Cajon), Brendan Goff (Piano, Electric Bass, Guitar), Patsy Toman (Guitar & Banjo), Tom Watson (Double Bass & Guitar) & Colin Henry (Dobro/Guitar & Banjo).

She has also taken part in the annual Celtic Connections Festival at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow. Janet had a very successful debut album launch in Matt Molloys pub, Westport, Co.Mayo and released a live 4 track ep from the night.

I'm very lucky to have such talented people performing with me and here they are ........

Merv kit

My other half Mervyn Dowd who made me put him first on the list. Merv plays guitar, drums and cajon (he decided that the cajon would be a good idea for the live gigs so as he'd have a seat - sounds great too!).

Patsy and his guitar

Patsy Toman who I have known a long time, plays guitar and banjo. We used to work together in a round about way and he has introduced us to some great music over the years. He has a band called Northern Exposure with his twin brother Pete and nephew Jonathan. Patsy has been an invaluable source of support, helped us choose the songs for the album and together we kept Irwins bakery in profit over this last two years with the amount of sandwiches and buns we ate whilst deliberating.

Pete & John

Pete Toman, Patsys twin brother played double bass in the band at the beginning but we had to get rid of him because in his words 'he was too good looking for our band'......He's fond of the sweet stuff as well and all those e-numbers keep him awake at night. This is when he e-mails me with more encouraging words of support and to keep me informed if I miss any radio play of the tracks. Since Pete's demise, we have been very fortunate to have the exceptionally talented Tom Watson take on the role of chief Upright Bass player (that's when he's not playing golf of course). That's the fabulous John Giffin in the background who recorded our first album, willing Pete to finish the endless tuning 'In the Shade Studios'....we think he did a wonderful job!


Brendan Goff the maestro on the piano and the joker of the pack. His arrangements of the live songs are magnificent and his guidance is invaluable. Most of all though, he makes me laugh and I can steal his material for the gigs. He loves apple tart.

Jonny studio

Jonathan Toman is Petes son and is an unbelievable talent on guitar and banjo.  He recorded the stunning arrangements on John Condon and Loving Hannah on the debut album and sometimes joins Rachel & I as part of Avita Event Music. He also recorded, produced, engineered and played...wait for it....Acoustic Guitars, Dobro, Bass, Piano, Strings, Bouzouki & Percussion on the new album 'Sailing Away'!!! Wouldn't he just sicken ye! 


Rachel Toman is Petes daughter and plays awesome piano (for the Avita set), clarinet and if thats not enough, sings harmony vocals like a lark. 

We feel like we've been adopted by the Toman family and I know Brendan has his application in and is awaiting a response. I think we all know what the answer will be.

Thanks to them and all the other wonderful musicians who gave up their time to record on the albums.