Tomas Hamilton & Naven Road – Glasnevins Grey Walls


TOMAS HAMILTON Bio Tomas Hamilton was born in Dublin, Ireland He came to Australia as an infant with his parents in the early fiffies. His parents claim it was for a bit of a look, but Tomas did not make it back to the “’ould sod” till 1990. He grew up in various country towns in the Hunter Valley in the days when `the parishes were run by Irish priests’, so it was easy to embrace the Aussie way of life but still be regarded as an Irishman by his mates. Tomas joined the RAAF at 17. He finds it amusing when he sings “I was only 19” at gigs and he had already been in the forces for two years. Tomas was a product of the 60’s folk scene. He bought a guitar and hung around the folk clubs near the bases he was stationed at. He married his wife Betty in 1969 and the pair of them had a week’s notice to move to another base. After five children and 40 yews marriage Tomas claims the learning curve goes vertical. After 21 years Tomas resigned from the RAAF and spent 17 years in a job he’d rather forget about. Tomas started serious song waiting in 1996 after the army Blackhawk tragedy and the RAAF Boeing 707 crash which took the life of a close friend. He had the honour of performing songs he had written at services for those lost in both tragedies and in 1997 released a tape of 8 songs self compositions on an album titled Remembrance. About this time he started a monthly Irish session in the Hawkesbury and it now has grown to a weekly gathering. A new tape Shamrocks and Wattle followed in 1998 and Barbwire and Bullshit in 2000. His ballad “The Long Tann Hymmn” has been used throughout the Hawkesbury on Vietnam Veteran’s Day since he wrote it in1999. After a change in career in 2004 and pressure from fellow musicians Tomas put down his first CD titled “Further down the Track” and re-released Barbwire as a CD. After writing “Sydney in the Rain” and with the encouragement from fellow muso’s he released yet another CD of 16 self compositions titled ” Hamilton’s 5th” in November 2006 In 2007 while on a visit to England he popped over to Dublin for a week and did several gigs ,a highlight of which was performing at Darky Kelly’s inn Dublin on Easter Sunday and Ned O’Shea’s Merchaynt the following week Before Tomas left for Dublin his mother remarked that he had never written a. Dublin Song. While waiting to fly out from Dublin he wrote The Grey Walls Of Glasnevin. Ten months later he performed it at his mother’s funeral. In 2009 he released his sixth album “Glasnevin’s Grey Walls” The album contains 14 tracks of self compositions which reflect his Irish heritage and experiences in life.. Tomes has been a Hawkesbury resident since 1991.

Tomas Hamilton, leader of this folk troupe, will win no awards for his rough, dissonant vocals. It’s not as raucous as the lead singer of the Pogues, probably because Hamilton quite often sings at a much slower pace and much more gently (or softly!) However despite this, his & his band’s cd has a certain charm that transcends this criticism. His vocals are well supported by backing and harmony vocals of band members Rachel Dillon, Wendy Kilroy, Ian Henry, Patrick Smith and Richard Galluzzi. At times I felt it might have been better for either Rachel or Wendy to take over lead vocals just to give the album some variation. The album uses familiar array of instruments such as guitar, violin, concertina, whistle, bagpipes, mandolin and banjo to provide strong support for Hamilton. All the tunes are written in the folk genre, and some of you no doubt will suspect you’ve heard a melody before, although 11 of the album’s 14 compositions are written by Hamilton. Two are credited as traditional – “Sandy” & “Reflections” while “the Oldest Pair of Ladies” is the only ‘cover’. At times I am reminded of the work of the Fureys, especially with this album’s lilting airs and waltzes – viz “Reflections” – but without that group’s superb harmonies! There’s a mix of slow songs (“Grey Walls of Glasnevin”, “Corridors of Time”, “Where do Men go to Cry”, “Donegal Lass”) and upbeat using the rhythm patterns of reels and jigs (“Gypsy in my Dreams”). There’s also contrast in serious and amusement – compare “Did you Know Joe Murphy” that relates the problems of returned soldiers or “Grey Walls of Glasnevin” or “Christmas Wish” (a child asks for dead parent to reappear on Christmas morning” to “Talkin’ Strine” and “Sandy” – a (hopefully) a playful criticism of the sounds of the bagpipes. “The Oldest Pair of Ladies” is a jaunty, jolly tune about prostitutes. (It’s interesting that Hamilton chose to sing this song himself rather than use female vocals.) Hamilton is from the Hunter Valley, and this is his 6th album. After listening to this album several times, I will be purchasing some of his previous work. He is already noted for his anti-war songs or songs that refl ect the tribulations of soldiers and returned veterans – his song “The Long Tann Hymmn” has already reached a similar status to that of Redgum’s “I Was only 19” or Eric Bogle’s “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” among the folk clubs of the Hunter Valley. On this album, “Did You Know Joe Murphy” relates the story of a soldier leaving behind a pregnant wife and then being killed in action. Interestingly Hamilton worked in the armed forces for many years.

6 in stock (can be backordered)

SKU: TN1091-39 Category:

Additional information

Weight .200 kg
Dimensions 22 × 16 × .50 cm


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