Album Review - Colm Naughton / The Space Between The Notes

Debut albums are always an interesting commodity.  As a first album they usually give a very clear vision of the artist, their talent and energy.  Colm Naughton is one such talent.  He lives and plays his music on the west coast of Ireland in Counties Galway and Mayo and spends a lot of his time in the vibrant Galway City music scene. If you encountered him in one of those sessions you would no doubt be impressed.  This debut album consists of 13 tracks of which 3 are songs.  He opens with a set of reels called The Merry Sisters/Miss Susan Cooper/Richard Dwyer's which displays the accomplished and versatile banjo style alluded to in the liner notes by Máirtin O’Connor.  Solid and expressive it most definitely is.  He follows this opener with a great set of Barn dances that he “soaked up by osmosis” at the Galway sessions, called Pearl O’ Shaughnessy’s/McConnell’s.

Colm’s reels are particularly impressive and a set that includes The First Day of Spring/Paddy Ryans’s Dream/Wissahickon Drive is well worth the inclusion.  The first tune in the set is a Tommy Peoples composition and the last tune is by Liz Carroll.  They were tunes he had no home for during the recording process and so he put them together in this set which works very well.  Other highlights include a beautiful tune written for his wife before their wedding called Orlaith’s Waltz.  Orlaith as it happens is Sean Keane’s niece and Sean features as a guest musician on one of the tracks. It’s a song called If You’d Ever Met and is dedicated to Colm's late mother.  It’s a well written track with Keane’s influence evident throughout.  Other songs include a Phil Ochs song called When I’m Gone and an American song called Shady Grove.  All in all The Space Between the Notes is a confident and well delivered album.  There is an honesty to the music with arrangements that work very well.  Colm’s strong rhythm and even style of play drives the tunes along. He also breaks the album up nicely with some songs, a set of barn dances and the above mentioned waltz. Lots of support musicians including Jimmy Higgins ( percussion ), Cathal Kerins ( accordion ), Michael Chang ( fiddle ) and Pat Coyne ( guitar and bass ). 

The album is available at www.colmnaughton.com

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Comment by Alan O Rourke on June 8, 2013 at 21:18

Ive heard colms playing and if this album sounds like this which i have no doubt its a hit with me. Alan ORourke. www.alsbanjos.com

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