This year at Priddy, we are proud to welcome one of the most widely respected and finest fiddlers and singers on the British folk scene, Tom McConville.
Born on Tyneside, Tom grew up in a pub with clientele from Irish and Scottish communities and thus the joys of Celtic folk was instilled in him from an early age.
He began performing in the folk clubs of the North East in the early 1970s and went on to play support to Irish folk bands like The Fureys and The Dubliners.
After a spell in the 70s with folk/rock band Magna Carta and another band, Dab Hand, he produced two award-winning albums before spending 11 years returning to traditional folk with the Northumbrian piper Paul-ine Cato.
2006 saw Tom working with Scots instrumentalist of the year Aaron Jones and All-Ireland Champion flute, fiddle and whistle ace Claire Mann.
Recruiting musicians of the calibre of Kieran Boyle, Peter Tickell, Dave Wood and Kevin McGuire, Tom completed a stunning solo CD, Tommy on the Bridge to widespread acclaim. This was followed by two more – Tommy on Song and Tommy on the Road.
Although perhaps never achieving the level of national attention he deserves, Tom is one of those figures that has earned immense respect from audiences and fellow musicians.
In 2009 he won belated recognition by taking the musician of the year award at the BBC Radio 2 British Folk Awards.
The legendary (and much-missed) Dave Swarbrick perhaps summed it up best: “Tom,” he said, “is a great player, and a terrific singer. He also happens to be a number one bloke too. Tom plays as Tom is, with honesty and passion, and an obvious love for the fiddle and traditional music.”
You can watch a lovely short documentary on Tom here