‘Off the Beaten Path’ is a self-produced collection of Tom's early folk and Scriptural songs from 1981 to about 2001. Raw and exploratory, meditative and at times intense and passionate, they will take you down roads you have not traveled before. Personal comments on each song appear below.
Other music sites where you can here more recent versions of Tom's songs and music, including jazz, celtic and classical styles: http://www.reverbnation.com/tomntierney (35 songs), http://www.myspace.com/tomntierney (13 songs), and
http://www.imradio.com/?f=artists_view&id=442 (click on Tom's tune to hear it -- song playing when you log on is not his)
For this CD Baby collection, be prepared to venture into areas of Scripture previously (to Tom's knowledge) untouched by musical settings. The exploratory nature of the song-writing process is what Tom finds so fascinating and captivating, and has been instrumental (no pun intended) in helping him develop his own unique musical voice.
Are you searching for the presence of God? You may find it here. The power of the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit comes on so strong sometimes, when Tom plays some of these tunes, it shakes him to the core. (especially Isaiah 42!!! -- which has a long, intense, classical-style intro.)
Tom wants you to know up-front that God gets any glory if it’s to be had. If he has learned anything at all, it is that the Lord is an all-consuming fire. The closer you get the more 'junk' will be burned out (like being totally absorbed with yourself.) Sometimes Tom feels like an Amish man who uses electricity (and plays guitar and writes songs.) Time is short. Jesus is coming soon.
The hope is that this music will minister to you. But more than that, it would help him very much to know your reactions and your thoughts – he welcomes them.
Tom has also been at work writing new songs... and has recorded more than 20 new ones, including over 10 renditions of David's Psalms, 6 of which can be heard at www.myspace.com/tomntierney.
Thanks, and God bless!
By the way, three guesses as to what that thing is next to Tom's head on the CD cover with the yellow dot in it surrounded by the bluish-colored field. (Answer below)
1. Brown Mouse Intro. This piece, originally titled ‘Christmas Piece’ when Tom wrote it in 1984, is along the lines of the medieval/renaissance guitar music Tom loves to play, and while working on it one day, as he was recording it, it seemed to work itself into an intro to the doomsday song, ‘The Brown Mouse Song’ (#14 below) so he left it named that for the CD.
2. How Can I Tell You? A simple melody put to folk finger-picking (Tom heard it was called 'Travis' picking from an old Peter, Paul and Mary songbook), up the neck of the guitar (fret 8?) Comments from the heart and a question for those that don’t know God as their friend.
3. Pineville Laundromat, 9 am (Freddie’s Song). The lyrics were written by Joy Sawyer, a wonderful poet/writer Tom worked with many years ago. She is the author of ‘Dancing to the Heartbeat of Redemption: The Creative Process of Spiritual Growth’ and other books Tom highly recommends.
4. Bucket Full of Blues. This is a true story. Tom's vocals might be a bit hard to understand in places (something he notices to an extreme degree in much of today's music, which is very irritating) so Tom has included lyrics to all songs as part of the graphics with each CD.
5. Throne of the Son. Ethereal longing put to DADGAD tuning on his 12 string, for all you guitar buffs out there.
6. Discontent. Comments on the world, and a hopeful word about hate. He tried to do kind of a reggae beat. Has some pro-life sentiments, and the 'million eyes' refers to cell phones and security cameras (to say nothing of the spiritual realm!) Tom had no idea how prolific those things would become when he wrote this piece. Kind of prophetic.
7. I Love the Lord. Tom actually used a synthesizer on this to add some background – one of the few. It speaks for itself. The words are from a Messianic Jewish song Tom learned years ago.
8. Isaiah 42. Long, moody classical guitar-type intro to some heavy-duty Scripture. This song talks about Jesus hundreds of years before His physical appearance on earth. Sometimes, as mentioned above, Tom can’t get through it all the way without breaking down in tears. Others do this also, but especially this one. Tom thinks he's too emotional.
9. 29&J. The name derives from the location: 29th Street and Jefferson Avenue in downtown Newport News, VA. Tom went there when he was a young Christian, perhaps around 1983, with his good friend Alex Rotter, (another Christian folk singer/guitar player) as part of the Warwick Assembly of God street team. Again, it speaks for itself. (Oh yeah, Tom put some soprano sax on this one. If he re-records it, he'll slow it down with more feeling.)
10. The Reaper. A message to some teenager somewhere. Kind of haunting.
11. Psalm 107. This could be a fun, rocked-out piece. Tom really likes this one, one of his later attempts. He need to re-record it with some rockers. Know any?
12. John 10:25-30. The words of Jesus (in red for all you non-Bible people). Some of Tom's Christian friends like this one a lot.
13. Shadows of the Truth. This song is written about a girl Tom knew in college. Just goes to show how some people can impact your life way beyond what you’d think when you’re out from under the shadow of God’s wing and under OTHER shadows.
14. The Brown Mouse Song. This song is one of Tom's first, probably written in 1981. (Wow! 26 years. My, how time flies!!) Doomsday all the way – Tom was seeing in his mind a kind of renaissance bard on the street corner dressed in sackcloth and ashes under a ‘Repent Now’ sign. Maybe Tom should do that. Might help him break through the clutter.
15. Revelation Chapter 7. Another Scriptural war-horse. Tom wasn’t happy with repeated recording attempts on this – it needs to have the right ‘tude, and he just couldn’t get it right, so he went back to the very first version recorded on an old Tascam 4-Track syncassette. Remember those? It sits broken in Tom's attic right now. This one seems a bit long. He’d love to do another version, the vocals need up-grading -- he just wanted people to at least hear the idea.
16. Be Thou My Vision. What better way to end than on a beautiful old traditional Celtic piece? DADGAD tuning once again.
P.S. Many thanks to Nathan and Tracy Rae Elliott (she has a CD here on CD Baby -- http://cdbaby.com/cd/tracyraeelliott), who let Tom know about this website and encouraged him to put his CD out here. They have worked on some songs together and will again, once they find the time! Also to Bob Fox, a former co-worker at Operation Blessing Int'l (the world's best humanitarian and disaster relief organization!) for listening and giving Tom encouragement and advice. And all the Rock Church Int'l folks, too! God bless you! Oh, and can't forget the best photographer in the world -- Carl Setterstrom -- Tom thanks you for the review. Visit his site at Allsettphoto.com ... some great stuff.
Oh, yeah. Here’s the answer to the above quiz:
It's an old floppy drive! It's on a piece of art Tom did and used for his CD graphic, called 'Technology Temple". He painted it black, flecked it with gold paint and mounted in on a piece of marble as the central focus of the piece. Any guesses as to what the curved black thing is which also goes over the blue marble and touches the floppy drive on the left? (Hint: It's a pretty common thing, found in just about every kitchen.)