Killyleagh singer releases new music

Killyleagh singer releases new music

8 September 2021

FOR singer/songwriter Conal Montgomery, the village of Killyleagh is a limitless inspiration.

The lockdown last year provided him with the space and time to write and record two new tracks that could put his home on the musical map. 

The Corner Stone will be released on September 17 with a second single, The Shores of Killyleagh, released on October 15.

It’s the first new music from the rocker frontman who has opted for a gentler sound since his debut album, Happy Being Free, was released in 2019. 

The songs mean a lot to Conal, who writes from the heart when it comes to his music.

He explained: “I wrote these songs while in lockdown, along with many others and I’m in the middle of recording at my old school friend Gerard Dornan’s studio in Loughinisland.

“It all started when a neighbour, John McNamara, sent me a poem written in the late 1960s by Father Liam Vaughan called The Shores Of Killyleagh and asked if I could put music to it. 

“I posted it on Facebook and got a great response. The others who sent me their thoughts and poems then gave me the idea to try and put their words into songs and record them and register the songs and credit these people for co-writing the songs when registering them.”

Conal said that the first release, The Corner Stone, is about a local landmark which “sits half in and half out” of a wall on the corner of the Central Bar.

“Many many people have sat on or stood beside this stone over hundreds of years,” he said.

“This song is dedicated to all the lost souls and characters who, like myself, struggled with their trauma and addictions in life but found comfort in the stone while waiting on the bar to open to ease their suffering. 

“The names I mention are real people and the things I mention really happened. These people were the life and soul of any session, but I’m sure suffered behind closed doors. 

“This is for them so they can be remembered and I’m sure and have been told by people in surrounding towns that the song will stir memories of characters in other towns everywhere.”

Conal recalls that when he was once filming a documentary about the people of Killyleagh and Shrigley with folk legend and musician Tommy Sands, the broadcaster told him that “people make places and that my music gives a voice to the voiceless.”

He is aiming to record a new album, where five songs, including the two singles, are about Killyleagh, while others are co-written with other people who through the pandemic contacted him with some thoughts and poems which they had written. 

“These are just ordinary people like you and me who maybe find it helpful to write down their feelings or stories they have in their heads,” said Conal.

“I thought my gift to them would be that they would now be registered as a songwriter, something they never believed they would ever achieve which I think breeds positivity, self belief and a sense of worth.

“I think getting your thoughts out, either on paper or just talking to another can alleviate built up pressures in us all.”

Conal has been helped by a group of local people, such as fellow musician and lifelong friend and former Killyleagh man Damian Hanna, who now lives in Holywood who played guitar on The Shores Of Killyleagh.

HIs childhood neighbour, Nick Watson, who is now over 30 years living in Atlantic Beach in Florida did the drums for both tracks. 

Conal added: “I will also be releasing a video for The Shores of Killyleagh which was shot and produced by Darren Brown and his son Joe from Soaring Productions, both of who are Killyleagh men also —  a song for Killyleagh by Killyleagh people.”

The Shores of Killyleagh got its first play on Father Brian Darcy’s Radio Ulster show on Sunday and Conal is thankful for the support and encouragement he receive from Fr D’Arcy and Tommy Sands.

His singles music will be released on all major music platforms and for regular progress updates, visit Conal Montgomery Music on Facebook and YouTube  or Instagram @conalmontgomery. 

CDs and merchandise can be purchased on Bandcamp

Conal and his band Stillwater will be returning to live gigs on Saturday, October 30, when he and three other local artists, young Charlie Hanlon, Kevin Young and the Barry Shields’ band, Every March they will be playing at Denvir’s in Downpatrick. Tickets are available from Ticket Source, priced £10 each.