VIDEO: Orlando indie-folk songwriter Henry Toland on Off the Avenue



Henry Toland is the latest DeLand songwriter to catch our ears, with his soothing lilt that's as endearing as Jens Lekman's with a subtle twang. He got his start as a mandolin player in a Virginia hotel band, but he's been performing as a solo act for the past three years and has also performed locally as Passing Afternoons with Ashley Marzullo (occasionally accompanied by guest musicians).

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Before that, he performed with Roadkill Ghost Choir, and now the two acts are reunited and currently touring together, with Toland in support of Roadkill, who just released their debut record. Toland also just recorded new music, laying down an EP with Roadkill pedal steel guitarist Kiffy Myers in Athens, Georgia, at Chase Park Transduction. That's set to release at the end of September, so we'll be lurking his Facebook for that announcement. For Toland's session with North Avenue Studios, we shook things up and filmed at DeLand's Dutton House, resulting in two beautiful videos of the local folk talent performing his songs, "Cabin Song" (above) and "Oldest Friend" (below).

Orlando Weekly: What are you listening to/loving most in music right now?

I sort of ended up in Athens, Georgia, this month so I’m delving into the music scene here. I went to a free show last night and saw T. Hardy Morris. His music really impressed me. I haven’t really been listening to too much new music but have been rediscovering older stuff. The more I learn about music, the more I want to go back and find out why I fell in love with certain songs. So I’ve been listening to Iron and Wine, Sparklehorse, the Byrds, and all those isolated vocal tracks of the Beatles that are on YouTube among other things. Most of the newer stuff I’m listening to comes from my friends: Roadkill Ghost Choir, Jhaysonn (who records as Pissing Graffitti), Caspian, this amazing guy named Garza who’s playing guitar behind me right now.

What's the best band you've ever seen live?

I can’t settle on just one. If I have to, I think it’s Andrew Bird. I’ve seen him several times, and he’s always blown me away. If I don’t have to

Grizzly Bear is up there, too. I’ve never heard anything like the sound they made in a live setting.

Photo by Bailley Burdelsky
  • Photo by Bailley Burdelsky

Photo by Bailley Burdelsky

What label do you think your music fits best on?

Maybe Jagjaguwar.

What the fuck is wrong with the music industry?

I think it’s the gatekeepers, but ask me again in a month.  I’m learning things.

What's your favorite Orlando venue to perform in?

I just played the Social for the first time, and the sound there was phenomenal, but I’ve really enjoyed playing at the Peacock Room on Mills Avenue again and again on Sterling Schroeder’s or Jackson Rodgers’ nights.

Photo by Brent Walker
  • Photo by Brent Walker

Photo by Brent Walker

What Orlando band deserves more attention?

The Plush Monsters come to mind.  Have you ever seen them live?  They’re brilliant.

What album have you listened to more than any other album?

Iron and Wine’s Woman King EP.  It’s the truth.

What's the best live music video you've ever seen?

This St. Vincent cover of The Beatle’s ‘Dig a Pony’ is the first one that came to mind: