Time for some original tunes with a touch of the Blues and early Rock and Roll, Connollys Bar, Kinvara this Saturday at 10pm. Before hand I’ll be doing support for Brian Flemming show Have Yis No Homes To Go To in Johnstons Hall, Kinvara at 8.30pm. https://www.facebook.com/events/693542660687726/
September 1, 2012 9:00 pm • The Hut
Peadar King and Tom Portman perform songs and music from their recent albums The Shadowlands and At one. Peader’s music combines his native Inishbofin tradition with classic Americana. Tom draws on a variety of influences and genres and is an integral part of the flourishing Galway music scene. The two musicians are returning from their residency at la Salamandre theatre during the Avignon Theatre Festival in Southern France, and this promises to be a special and melodious evening.
By Kernan Andrews
TOM PORTMAN, the gifted guitarist, and his band, will take to the stage of Monroe’s Backstage Bar next Wednesday at 10pm.
This will be an all electric affair from Tom, who is best known for his work as an acoustic and Dobro slide guitarist, and the night promises a dynamic alternate take on Tom’s compositions, with a strong blues element. Tom will be joined by drummer Cieron Kelly (The Lazy Blues Band/The Rye) and bassist Marcus Molloy (Big Geraniums).Tom has played the Electric Picnic and the DLR Festival of world cultures. He is currently on tour in the south of France. Check out his most recent album At One.Tickets are €5 and are available on the door or through www.monroes.ie and 091 – 583397.
Multi-instrumentalist, performer, composer and songwriter Tom Portman is based in the west of Ireland. Playing acoustic & electric guitar, Dobro & lap steel, Tom presents a wide repertoire. His compositions draw on many global styles yet have a distinct flavour of their own. January 2011 saw the launch of Tom’s 2nd solo album, ‘At One’ with a sell out show in Galway’s Town Hall Theatre. This self produced collection features instrumental compositions, songs and arrangements of traditional Irish tunes for fingerstyle guitar and Dobro. During 2011 Tom has performed solo at the Suwalki Blues Festival in Poland, around Ireland with the Bahh Band (thebahhband.com) and appeared at the Clonakilty Guitar Festival with the Juke Box Gypsy’s and John Smith. As a session musician Tom’s playing features on the feature film ‘The Ugly Duckling & Me’ and on Roesy’s album ‘Colour me Colourful’ as well as other Irish artists recordings.
Fascinating…he absolutely captivated me John Richards, Galway Bay FM
By Charlie Mcbride
TOM PORTMAN, performer, composer, songwriter and talented multi-instrumentalist, launches his new album At One, with a gig at the Town Hall on Saturday January 29. Portman is probably best known for his work with Dobro and guitar and both instruments are to the fore in At One’s collection of melodic, intimate, and contemplative tunes. Most of the tracks are instrumentals and feature a mix of Portman originals alongside his interpretations of traditional pieces like ‘Paddy Fahey’s Reel’ and ‘Bonaparte Crossing The Alps’.
Originally from Roscommon, Portman’s family moved to Chesterfield when he was a child. Music was a big part of his family life, as he revealed over a lunchtime chat in Sheridan’s Bar in Knocknacarra.
“All my family were into music,” he recalls. “My grandmother taught piano and sang with the Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir and my grandfather was a very good harmonica player. With my mum I remember we were always singing at home, she’s a great singer.
“My uncle plays guitar, my other uncle is a professional keyboard/piano player, and my dad was a lovely bodhran and bones player – he still plays a bit. I remember I got my first guitar when I was four or five, I couldn’t play it then though.
“My sister gave me loads of heavy metal records so I used to listen to those and jump off my chair with the guitar and pretend I was Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi!”
A few years later Portman began to study the guitar in greater earnest.
“My uncle started teaching me guitar when I was 12 or 13,” he recalls. “I heard it and I was captivated and wanted to learn. Later on I was taught by Kevin Walters who used to play with Shakin’ Stevens, he showed me some slide guitar and that got me kinda interested in the Dobro then my dad bought me one.
“I’ve always been curious about other instruments, I went travelling in my early 20s and wanted an instrument I could travel with so took a violin with me with the idea that I would learn it as I travelled – I’m still learning!”
Not only is Portman interested in different instruments, the music he plays and composes is like a melting pot, drawing on a wide range of sounds and influences. His eclecticism is borne out by his recent recording of an Indian classical fusion album, When Worlds Collide, with the Bah Band and his appearances with Kinvara rock group, Charis.
At One is Portman’s second solo album following 2007’s The Journey. He compares the two albums thus; “The first album incorporated my own compositions as well as some blues arrangements of people like Robert Johnson and Taj Mahal and featured more Dobro. This new album has Dobro but has more guitar work.
“I have some arrangements of traditional tunes like ‘Paddy Fahey’s Reel’ and ‘Bonaparte Crossing The Alps’. When I first came back to Ireland tolive when I was 19 I was listening to records by the likes of Martin Hayes and Charlie Piggott, that’s where I picked up some of those tunes and discovered a real love for them and so I wanted to record them.”
Portman expands upon At One’s gestation process; “I thought the album would turn out very different when I started, there was a whole other repertoire of things I’d like to have done. But I went out to Inish Bofin for three days, I was lent a cottage out there and I just recorded.
“When I was out on the island, it just seemed to be there that those pieces I used to play years ago came out so I recorded them and then I went on and did other pieces that I felt complemented them and formed a coherent body of work. At that stage the album wasn’t mixed or mastered but I got a Galway County Council arts grant which enabled me to do that so that’s how it all came about.”
He describes the type of music that he has chosen to feature on the album;
“A lot of the music I’ve recorded for the album is what I’ve been playing in my quiet time at home,” Portman says. “It’s not for a pub audience so it’s been a challenge for me to know where can I bring that kind of music because it’s very special to me.
“Sometimes I wonder would I have been better off making something really radio friendly, but so much music is really commercially driven, but this music is what I do and it’s honest. It’s not really pub music, and it’s not background music either, it’s something you can listen to and engage with, it’s delicate.”
At One is launched at the Town Hall studio on Saturday January 29 at 9pm. Admission is €12 which covers entry to the gig as well as a copy of the CD. There are also concessionary tickets for €7 which cover gig only. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 – 569777.
Charly McBride – Galway Advertiser,01/10/2012
Galway Advertiser, MARCH 01, 2012.
By Kernan Andrews
GUITAR WIZARD, songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Tom Portman will play a solo concert in the Town Hall Theatre Studio this Saturday at 9pm.
Tom will perform his music on acoustic and electric guitar, Dobro, lap steel, mandolin, and oud. He will play songs from his most recent album At One as well as new compositions and a touch of blues.
He has performed at Electric Picnic and the Suwalki Blues festival.
Admission is €10/6. For more information contact the Town Hall on 091 – 569777 and www.tht.ie
Galway City Tribune
December 2, 2011
Róisín Dubh on Wednesday next, December 7
Galway based songwriter, guitarist and dobro player Tom Portman is performing a solo show upstairs in the Róisín Dubh on Wednesday next, December 7 at 9pm. He will also be performing in Gort’s Gallery Café the following week, on Thursday, December 15.
Tom has had a busy year since he launched his second solo album, At One in January with a sell out show in Galway’s Town Hall Theatre. This self-produced collection features instrumental compositions, songs and arrangements of traditional Irish tunes for fingerstyle guitar and Dobro.
During 2011 Tom has performed solo at the Suwalki Blues Festival in Poland, around Ireland with the Bahh Band and appeared at the Clonakilty Guitar Festival with the Juke Box Gypsies and John Smith. As a session musician Tom’s playing features on the feature film The Ugly Duckling and Me and on Roesy’s album, Colour me Colourful as well as other Irish artists recordings.
Tom’s shows in the Róisín and the Gallery will feature his intricate instrumental compositions and many of the new songs he’s been working on since the release of At One.
Fascinating…he absolutely captivated me.’ John Richards, Galway Bay FM Probably best known for playing the Dobro/Resonator guitar on his lap with a steel bar Tom is an active musician on the Galway scene. Although primarily regarded as a Blues musician, in reality Portman’s compositions are like a melting pot drawing on a wide variety of influences and genres from around the world. This winter has seen Tom concentrating on teaching and composing new music for a new album to be released in 2010. Over this last year Tom has had performances with Indian fusion ensemble ‘The Bahh Band’, Bluegrass group ‘Gone to Grass’, Peader King and ‘Charis’. 2009 saw performances at the Volvo Ocean Race, Clifden Jazz & Blues festival, Bundoran Surf festival, the Fetival of World Cultures and the Electric Picnic. Tom is also performing solo and with a Trio he has started up. In 2007 he released The Journey, a 16-track an intimate solo album featuring his instrumentals and songs. On an international level Portman’s Dobro playing is now on the soundtrack of the Magma films feature film “The Ugly Duckling & Me”, it’s spin off cartoon series has been broadcast on RTE and across Europe. In Ireland, Tom has worked with many people including ‘Roesy’ and Peader King.