“I've always known Colm as a very accomplished and versatile banjo and mandolin player. On this recording, his playing is, as always, rich, full bodied and full of heart.... I wish him every success and hope that his recording captivates other listeners as much as it has done me.” - Máirtín O'Connor
1. Reels: The Merry Sisters / Miss Susan Cooper / Richard Dwyer's
The first tune here is one I've been playing for many years and is still one of my favourites. The second is a composition of the Shetland accordion and piano player, Ronnie Cooper. The last tune stirs some debate, but as far as I'm aware it is a Richard Dwyer tune and is often called 'The Fox on the Town'
Colm: Banjo, bouzouki & Guitar / Jimmy Higgins: Bodhrán
2. Barndances: Pearl O'Shaughnessy's / McConnell's
I'm not sure where I got the first of these barndances, but like many other tunes, I probably soaked it up by osmosis at sessions in Galway. The second tune I got from the playing of Dermot Byrne and Dermot McLoughlin and thought they'd fit nicely together
Colm: Banjo / Jimmy Higgins: Piano & percussion
3. Song: If You'd Ever Met
The idea for this song had been rattling around my head for a number of years after the death of my mother, Nellie. I was thinking about all the people she would never meet and, more importantly, the people who would never meet her. It wasn't until I met my wife, Orlaith, in 2009 that I finally had a flash of inspiration and it stopped rattling and came out as this song.
Colm: Vocals & guitar / Orlaith Keane: Backing vocals / Pat Coyne: Backing vocals / Sean Keane: Whistle / Cathal Kerins: Accordion / Michael Chang: Viola
4. Reels: The First Day of Spring / Paddy Ryan's Dream / Wissahickon Drive
This set I put together while recording this album. They are all tunes I love playing but had no particular home for, so, I stuck them all together and ended up with this. The first is a Tommy Peoples tune and the last is a composition of the Chicago fiddle player, Liz Carroll.
Colm: Banjo & bouzouki / Pat Coyne: Guitar & bass / Jimmy Higgins: Percussion
5. Jigs: The Piper's Chair / Paddy Fahey's / The Handsome Young Maidens
The 'The Piper's Chair' was Micho Russell's name for this first tune and comes from a rock used by pipers while playing for outdoor dances near Doolin, Co.Clare. The second and third tunes come from two of the most prolific composers of tunes in Ireland today, Paddy Fahey and Charlie Lennon.
Colm: Banjo, bouzouki & guitar
6. Waltz: Orlaith's Waltz
While Orlaith was away on her hen-party before our wedding in 2011, I was thinking it would be nice to write a piece of music for her to walk up the aisle to. I didn't actually think I would be able to write something in time but said I'd give it a go anyway. About an hour later this is the tune that had emerged.
Colm: Mandolin / Cathal Kerins: Accordion / Nicki Geddes: Cello / Michael Chang: Fiddle & Viola String arrangement by Nicki Geddes
7. Song: Shady Grove
This is a traditional American song from the mountains of Appalachia. There are many different versions and no two seem to be the same. This is mostly a Doc Watson version with a verse stolen from Gerry Garcia & Dave Grisman. The reel used here is called 'Mother's Delight'.
Colm: Vocals, guitar, banjo & mandolin / Finbarr Naughton: Fiddle / Jimmy Higgins: Percussion / Pearse Doherty: Bass
8. Hornpipe & Reel: President Garfields / The Cape Breton Fiddler's Welcome to Shetland
The first tune here was written by Harry Carleton, an American composer and can be found in 'Ryan's Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes', which was published in Boston in 1883. The second tune was composed by the great Shetland fiddler, Willie Hunter
Colm: Banjo / Pat Coyne: Guitar & bass / Jimmy Higgins: Bodhrán
9. Muñeiras: Muñeira de Tormaleo / Muñeira de Paula
These are two Asturian tunes I learned while living in the madhouse at No. 2 Newtownsmith, Galway in the 90's. It was a great house for music, parties, visitors and Spaniards. The first tune is a traditional muñeira and I couldn't say exactly which Spaniard I learned it from. The second tune was written by the wonderful Asturian piper, Xuacu Amieva. He kindly and patiently taught it to me when he visited Galway in the late 90's. I haven't seen Xuacu since but the tune has stuck with me.
Colm: Mandolin & bouzouki / Finbarr Naughton: Fiddle / Pat Coyne: Guitar / Jimmy Higgins: Percussion
10. Reels: The Galway Reel / Richard Dwyer's / Paddy Fahey's
The first tune here is accredited to the fiddle player Larry Redican who was originally from Boyle, Co. Roscommon but spent most of his life in America. The second is another composition of the Cork accordionist, Richard Dwyer, while the third is another of the great East Galway fiddler, Paddy Fahey.
Colm: Banjo / Pat Coyne: Guitar
11. Jigs: The Gold Ring / Paddy's Resource / The Mist Covered Mountain
This set harks back to many happy Saturday evenings spent playing in Galway with Finbarr, Cathal, Bill and many more fine musicians too numerous to mention. Thanks for the tunes lads.
Colm: Banjo / Finbarr Naughton: Fiddle / Cathal Kerins: Accordion / Bill Wright: Bouzouki / Jimmy Higgins: Percussion
12. Song: When I'm Gone
This is a Phil Ochs song which I learned from the singing of Dick Gaughan. I first heard this song at one of Dick's concerts in the the Crane Bar in 2001 and it really struck a chord with me.
Colm: Vocals, guitar & mandolin / Finbarr Naughton: Fiddle / Pat Coyne: Guitar
13. Reels: The Corner House / Rakish Paddy / The Ivy Leaf
Three stalwart tunes from the tradition. I love Bill's backing on Rakish Paddy.
Colm: Banjo / Bill Wright: Bouzouki