Published: 28/02/2013 09:54 - Updated: 28/02/2013 12:05

Nashville's the home of Colm Kirwan's country

Written byby Margaret Chrystall

Colm Kirwan, plays Eden Court and Aberdeen Music Hall.
Colm Kirwan, appearing at Eden Court.


IN Nashville, singer songwriter Colm Kirwan seems to be aware he’s living in any songwriter’s heaven and this morning the sun is shining on the son of Irish country and western legend Dominic Kirwan.

The two will appear on the same bill at Eden Court tonight (Feb 28), Dominic headlining while Colm is joined by friends and colleagues from America as the Nashville Singer Songwriters.

Colm took a while to find his place in the capital of songwriting, preferring to hone his skills over there while also getting his first self-titled album together.

As a teen he knew he wanted to perform, got himself a degree studying performance in London and quickly found an agent and manager.

He won a role in a touring Jesus Christ Superstar that lasted a year and took him all over the UK, followed it by opening for his dad on tour and taking care of the sound and playing guitar.

But by then he’d worked out exactly what he wanted from a music career.

Songwriting had become a passion.

"Jesus Christ Superstar was one of the best years of my life and I also found at the end of doing the same show for a year, I didn’t think it was something I wanted to do."

A songwriter Colm met by chance at a country music festival in the UK suggested he visit Nashville and he returned there permanently in 2009.

Maybe most importantly it wasn’t Colm’s dad’s dream, though there is so much else alike about the father and son.

Colm laughed: "One of my other brothers, Barry, was also on tour drumming in dad’s band and when the three of us sang together we could never deny we all have the Kirwan gene.

"And Dad used to gloat because most people would say we looked like brothers rather than father and son!

"But I don’t think Nashville was one of his dreams. He is very proud of the fact that I am just coming out here and doing it.

"He was married, I’m single, so I didn’t have any ties to stop me from following that dream.

"He chose a very different path, but equally he ended up having a great career.

"I just found when touring with dad that in terms of songwriting, I felt I had things to say."

Victoria Shaw, one of the Nashville Singer Songwriters.
Victoria Shaw, one of the Nashville Singer Songwriters.

As well as getting his self-titled debut album together, Colm also got the chance to open each night for country legend Don Williams on a tour that has taken him all over the UK, Europe and now continuing across the States through April and May.

"I hadn’t done anything in the United States at all as an artist, I’d just come to Nashville to try and break into the business, but I’d never played to an American audience.

"It’s been amazing and the reaction from the American audience has been hugely humbling.

"I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder artist. To have the kind of longevity in your career Don has had is definitely rare.

"But I do think Don has recorded music that touches people and if you can do that and try to write songs that mean something and record things that matter, in the long-run you will hold more weight with your music.

"It’s been amazing to tour with him and get to know someone like that. And to call him a friend is even better. A year ago I didn’t know him – he was just an idol of mine."

Colm Tweeted recently that he’d just seen the actor in new TV hit Nashville who plays songwriter and in-demand guitarist Deacon – currently being fought over by the series two female country stars.

So is Colm a real-life Deacon figure?

He laughs: "I don’t know if they’re fighting over me just yet … maybe one day.

"I’m more like the couple Scarlet and her boyfriend Avery, working in the Bluebird Café and trying to get their first big break!"

Colm is excited to get the chance to appear for the first time with his friends and colleagues from Nashville in the upcoming UK tour supporting his dad.

"This is the first time that this show has ever happened. I have done stuff individually with Joey and Rory – I stayed in their barn, an apartment there, before I got my own place in Nashville.Victoria Shaw produced Lady Antebellum’s latest album and produced mine and a friend, Heidi Feek, is another up and coming artist and an amazing talent."

Dominic Kirwan plus The Nashville Singer Songwriters (including Colm Kirwan) is at Eden Court tonight (Thursday, Feb 28) at 7.30pm and at the Music Hall, Aberdeen, tomorrow (Friday), Mar 1). If you've enjoyed reading about Colm, you can also find out more in this week's Highland News where he talks about the joy of songwriting - and why you'll never catch him wearing a stetson!

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