25/09/11 – Sitting at Number One in the Irish Country Music Charts…………….. Here you have a cool blend of traditional Irish/Country/Folk with a tinge of an American flavour thrown in, this is Toms Seventh album so he knows a little about making music, In his own words from the man himself Singer Songwriter “Tom Comerford”
In the summer of 2006 I had the pleasure of meeting Steve and Jane Johnstone whilst performing at an event they had attended during a holiday in Ireland. Steve and I got chatting after the gig and within minutes I was under no illusions that he was a musician/songwriter at heart, even though an engineer by profession. We exchanged email addresses, as one does, and over the next few months we swapped music, ideas for songs and general banter, before eventually becoming, kindred “virtual” spirits thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet. And we remain to this day of course, just a chance meeting perhaps? Well! lets see.
Now as it happened, one of our many nocturnal outings on the tour involved a pub in Balina (County Mayo) and the inevitable lock in. The conversation between Steve and my good self drifted towards music. And if I’m right, this was the where the whole of the “A Sign Of The Times” was concieved. Picture an open fire, a pint or two (downed just to be polite of course) and Steve saying to me, Tom, I`ve always wanted to write an album of songs with an Irish flavour, so having seen the place, when I get home I think I`ll do it. I Looked at him, somewhat aghast, and paraphrasing (to no small degree) said something along the lines of “So, just like that and because your in Ireland, you think that you can write a bunch of Irish songs, I don`t think so, and your forgetting a very important factor…. You`re ENGLISH old chap (lol) Steve closed one eye and, smiled, and that was that .
Well, talk about throwing down the gauntlet! within a week of him getting home, I recieved an email from Steve containing a demo of the first song, and they continued to arrive. First number two, then three, then four until I had a Collection of five, and I had to admit , even though I only had rough versions to listen to, I knew these songs were special. He had picked up the gauntlet and thrown it right back at me! The Only question then to answer was if I agreed that the songs were good (some of them heartbreakingly so) and yes they did have an Irish feel to them, would I be prepared to give up some of my precious free time, get envolved, come on board and and record this CD with me as the singer? A “no-brainer” as the English would say, I didn`t need to be asked twice and from this point onwards, the Johnstone machine just swung into action. Let me fill you in.
Firstly a flight to Madrid to consult with longterm songwriting partner George Madden meant that by Spring 2010 a staggering 11 songs were nearing completion. And then another trip`this time to Glasgow, where pre-production work began with a vengeance shortly afterwards, organised by Steve`s MD Mark Edwards, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Piano were all recorded in next to no time, with the Strings being added immediately after that, Strings! Yes real Strings! but not just any old Strings, for all of the classical string sounds you hear recorded on the CD were played by members of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Steve’s good friendo and local inhabitant Alan Kitchen with not a single sample in sight! Magic.
Then Its April, now Steve makes a visit to my humble abode his third trip and we spend two days rehearsing the vocals, and more importantly, co-writing a couple of songs to bring the final tally up to 13. We also agreed at this time that the project should move fully to Ireland (mainly to avail ourselves of the fantastic talents of some of the finest musicians this country has to offer, before Steve headed back across the water to organise the move…
The project moved lock stock and smoking barrel to County Tipperary during the Summer. As part of Steves fourth trip, here under the excellent stewardship of Gay Brazel and Joe Gallagher at GAF Studios, we recorded the Fiddle, Mandolin, Tin Whistle, Uilleann Pipes, Bouzouki, Accordian, Banjo and Bodhran, before finally adding my vocals in late September. I really enjoyed this experience, as not Only was I sharing a cracking collection of songs but I was to be aided and abetted, enchanted and enhanced by Libby Johnstone (Yes, She`s his Daughter) and her friend/colleague/singing partner Lisa Campbell, both of Eden firstname.lastname@example.org fun and frivolity then ensued with the Irish Postal Service (the first lot of recordings got lost on there way to Steve`s and it was three weeks before he eventually got his hands on what we had recorded, before he finally set about the laborious task of editing and mixing all 13 songs during the Autumn and Winter, and the rest as they say is history.
Now! every musician/singer/songwriter will tell you that he/she strides to make every musical project somewhat better than their previous offerings. Well, let me tell you this is by far the best work I have ever done. The calibre and quality of the songs and the musicians who played on this CD are second to none, and what a pleasure it was to be involved. At every level, from its inception at that lock-in in County Mayo in November 2009, right up to writing these notes, in January I had a ball. I therefore simply end by saying I hope you like it. I know I do. Dreams do sometimes come true Steve, so well done, and thanks sincerely. George Madden/Gemstone Records Ltd.