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Colm Naughton

Liner Notes

Released in 2013
The Space Between the Notes
Debut solo album consisting of 8 banjo tracks, 2 mandolin and 3 songs with 2 of the pieces being original.

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


What would have ever happened if your paths had crossed?,

Would like meet like and talk all night, inhibitions all be lost?,

What would have ever happened if you'd ever met?,

Would friends ensue?, would dreams come true if the best had met the best?


Where might it have been that we'd all be at once?,

In a snug down in the town with a session going strong,

With her never-ending smile, as if greeting one her own,

Would she have shook the hands of friends as yet unknown?


Would you have been fine?, would the shyness have shown?,

What would she have done to make you feel at home?,

Would she have made tea and shown old photographs?,

What might she have said that would have made you laugh?


Would you have played cards as I stood at the bar?,

Would stories of old have explained the way things are?,

Would there have been tunes?, would there have been songs?,

Would she have understood when I said that you're the one?


4. 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


5. 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


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


Shady Grove my little love, Shady Grove I say,

Shady Grove my little love, I'm bound to go away


Cheeks as red as the blooming rose, eyes of the pretties brown,

She's the darling of my heart, the sweetest girl in town.

I wish I had a big fine horse and corn to feed him on,

And Shady Grove to stay at home and feed him while I'm gone.


I went to see my little Shady Grove, she was standing at the door,

Shoes and stockings in her hand and her little bare feet on the floor.

I wish I had a banjo string made of golden twine,

And every tune I'd play on it I'd wish that girl was mine.


When I was a little boy I wanted a Barlow knife,

Now I want little Shady Grove to say she'll be my wife.

A kiss from pretty little Shady Grove is as sweet as brandy wine,

And there ain't no girl in this whole world that's prettier than mine.


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


There's no place in this world where I'll belong when I'm gone,

I won't know the right from the wrong when I'm gone,

Won't find me singing on this song when I'm gone,

So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here.


And I won't feel the flowing of the time when I'm gone,

The joys of love will not be mine when I'm gone,

My pen won't pour a lyric rhyme when I'm gone,

So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here.


And I won't breathe the bracing air when I'm gone,

Won't even worry about my cares when I'm gone,

I can't be asked to do my share when I'm gone,

So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here.


And I won't be running from the rain when I'm gone

I won't even suffer from the pain when I'm gone,

I can't ask who's to praise or who's to blame when I'm gone,

So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here.


I won't see the glowing of the sun when I'm gone,

The evening and the mornings will be one when I'm gone,

I can't sing louder than the guns when I'm gone,

So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here.


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


Thanks and stuff to...

My family who got me hooked on music and fed my habit for the first few years and still continue to. Especially my parents, Arthur & Nellie, who's love for the music was ingrained in me at an early age. This one's for you Nellie. All at the 'Newtownsmith Headquarters Training Academy'. Niall, Steve, Lorenzo et al. It was intensive but it was worth it in the end. All the musicians I've played with or learned a tune from over the years. The musicians who lent a hand on this album. Couldn't have done it without ye! Finbarr Naughton & Niall Hackett for the lend of their ears. Matthew Halloran. Matt & Florence Keane for all the help and support. This album has been on the cards for a number of years but there has always seemed to be reason or, if I'm honest, an excuse to put it off for another while. It would probably would have continued like this if it wasn't for the the encouragement and help of two people in particular. Firstly, Pat Coyne who made it too easy for me to avoid going into the studio any longer and created a 'no pressure' environment where it was all about the music and not about the clock. Finally, to my wife Orlaith, who from start to finish has given me nothing but encouragement, support and inspiration, thank you. Dedicated to the memory of my mother, Nellie Naughton. 1939 – 2001



Colm Naughton: Banjo / Mandolin / Guitar/ Bouzouki

Orlaith Keane: Backing Vocals

Finbarr Naughton: Fiddle

Pat Coyne: Guitar / Bass / Backing Vocals

Jimmy Higgins: Keyboard / Percussion

Cathal Kerins: Accordion

Bill Wright: Bouzouki

Sean Keane: Whistle

Michael Chang: Fiddle / Viola

Nicki Geddes: Cello

Pearse Doherty: Bass

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