is the second CD recorded by Tom Walsh, following the success of his solo debut
“In Company,” which was released to critical acclaim in late 2002.
While “Touch Wood” repeats many aspects of the successful formula
of “In Company”, there has been advancement in terms of the overall
maturity of the production, and the range of material covered. A number of threads
also underpin the music, even down to the actual wood being touched by the main
The nucleus of musicians involved in “Touch Wood” consists of Tom,
Mark Lysaght and Joe Foley – who have played together regularly over many
years. This is important in terms of the execution of original material, as
some of the time signatures are complex and require tight unison between the
instruments. The experience gained over many years of gigs and sessions allows
for a degree of musical empathy between the players, which is obvious throughout.
Joe Foley has been producing his distinctive instruments for over 25 years,
starting with Irish bouzoukis and soon diversifying into mandolas, mandolins,
guitars and even custom-made instruments for musicians all over the world. Joe
is also a fine singer, whose relaxed rendition of “The Unfortunate Lass”
is a highlight of this CD. This album features Tom on mandola and banjo and
harmonica, Mark on guitar, and Joe on bouzouki – all stringed instruments
hand-made by Joe, and treasured by their owners.
Mark Lysaght taught himself guitar as a teenager, and was mainly involved in
pop and rock bands throughout the 1970s. Through a series of “accidents”
he became involved in folk and traditional music, and played with both Tom and
Joe in “An Beal Bocht” (Mark II), along with uilleann piper and
singer Pat Broaders, and Johnny Curtis on bodhrán. Over the years, Mark
has pursued a highly individual accompaniment style for Irish music, drawing
on a wide range of influences, from hard rock through folk and blues, to jazz.
He is equally at home with his Joe Foley acoustic guitars, or with a Fender
Stratocaster in his hands (the latter instrument was not deemed appropriate
for “Touch Wood” – maybe next time!). On this CD, he has aimed
to underpin the other players in a simple yet effective style which never intrudes
on the other instruments, but seeks to enhance and augment the basic musical
structures. Mark also provides keyboard accompaniment on “McDermott’s
From 2004, Tom has successfully run a weekly folk club called “The Gig
In The Corner” on Wednesday nights at the Speaker Conolly in Dublin involving
(at first – up to May 2004) Joe Foley, and more recently Mark Lysaght.
eEach night a special guest musician joins in to complete the trio, and the
results are consistently fresh and vibrant, attracting listeners from far and
The music on the CD is rooted in Irish traditional and folk music, reflecting
Tom’s great love for and appreciation of the genre. A wide spectrum of
styles is covered, from the easygoing introduction of “Fineen O’Driscoll”
through some new original songs, and with a sprinkling of high-energy sets of
tunes. On each track, Tom contributes his unique musical personality –
committed, energetic and soulful – undeniably himself!
This recording accurately captures the breadth of Tom’s musical vision,
and we will listen with pleasure, in the sure knowledge that within a reasonable
time (during which he can recover from the rigours of writing, recording and
producing this CD), he will be busily planning his next release – “Touch