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Dublin Was Your Home is the debut album of newly-formed The Tom Collins Band.  It offers a veritable feast of traditional Irish music.  The album combines a collection of new and traditional songs with some of the liveliest, banjo-led instrumentals around.   
“Traditional Irish music has the happy knack of keeping up with the times ,” says the eponymous Tom Collins. “It remains vibrant and fresh whilst other styles come and go. . So, whether it’s a hornpipe in memory of an event or person,  or a song of yearning or joy, the music always seems fresh and immediate.”

Many of the songs are semi-autobiographical, drawing  directly on Tom’s worldly encounters and experiences - whilst the instrumental jigs, reels and hornpipes showcase his virtuoso talents on tenor banjo and mandolin.
The title track  Dublin Was Your Home is  packed full of memories and yearning direct from the banks of the Liffy.  Sweet County Clare  is arranged  by Tom and tells of the itinerant gigging lifestyle and the homesickness that often goes with it.  
“Too much yearning can be a dangerous thing so we’ve leavened the mix with some lively instrumentals like the waltzes of The East Galway Set”, says Tom. “Whichever direction traditional Irish music takes, these forms provide the musical foundation.” 
Coming Back Home was the constant thought in the minds of Irish workers in London down the decades: “Will we be here year after year, is there an end to the exiles game?” must surely chime with many an expatriate.
Out on the Wren goes back to rural Ireland with this lively musical tribute to the traditional 26th December St Stephen’s Day Wren Hunt.  Listen out for the lively reel at the end.
The sad end for Mary Blaize,  whose fast living took her early to her maker,  is evoked in the poem by  Oliver Goldsmith and set here as a haunting lament arranged by Tom.
The Radar Reel –so called after bass player Jack Mannion’s comment that he’d need a radar to keep up with the  plectrum work on this track – and The Raging Pony set a bustling, rural Irish scene with brisk tempos and sudden changes of direction and key.
Carry Me Over The Water revisits the  beauty of a “windswept little island” off  western Ireland. Over the Miles deals with the age old problem of keeping relationships going at a distance.
Tom’s Long Hill Waltzes provide a stately entrance to the closing instrumental interlude which is rounded off in true virtuoso style with the plectrum-defying acceleration of Phil Cunningham’s Reel.
Born and raised near Athlone in western Ireland, Tom Collins has toured extensively in Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe.  He composes most of his own music and plays banjo, mandolin and fiddle.  During a spell in London he developed a lifelong liking for busking (which supported him during a lean patch) and proudly reckons he has been “moved on” from just about every underground station in central London.
He now splits most of his time between Wales and Ireland.
You can listen to the band on its website or on (music section).  You can also download tracks or order copies of the CD direct from the website.
Further Information: Stevie Edwards
Tel: 07971 216063

Permalink - Posted: February 12, 2008 at 4:45 pm