IRISH SOUL: Tommy Fleming is coming to town.
IRISH SOUL: Tommy Fleming is coming to town. Marc Osullivan

New beginnings

JUST because Tommy Fleming is known across the world as the voice of Ireland doesn't mean he is going to forget about his Ipswich fans.

Fleming has included the city on a 12-date tour of Australia - his third visit to the country during his stellar career that has spanned two decades.

The tour will promote his latest album, Begin, which was inspired by the loss of his mother and father last year.

Fleming's parents died on the same day in March 2012.

"They really are the crux of the album - they are why the album was made," he said.

"They were a huge influence on me and probably the reason why my interest in music is so eclectic.

"I was brought up listening to country, Irish folk, rock 'n roll, classical music and Broadway."

After spending about three months grieving his parents' death, Fleming decided to express his grief through a new collection of songs.

Begin has been described as a return to more traditional Irish folk roots - 15 songs paying tribute to his mother and father and their influence throughout his career.

"I usually use a lot of string arrangements but with this one, we just went in with a band - it's a sign of how good a song is when you can strip it right back and it still sounds good," he said.

Currently in NSW, Fleming is working his way north this week, with dates in Taree and Grafton, before arriving at the Ipswich Civic Centre on May 12.

"I love Australia," he said.

"It's such a different place, yet you are very much like us - you don't take yourselves too seriously, you have a great sense of humour but also a strong sense of pride."

Born the youngest of six kids in Aclare County Sligo, Ireland in 1971, Fleming received his big break while fronting a band at a charity function near his home town and having a chance encounter with Phil Coulter.

Fleming signed his first solo record deal in 1996 and went on to release five albums, Restless Spirit, The Contender, Sand and Water, Live at St Patrick's Cathedral and The Collection. He has sold 1.5 million albums globally.

Tommy Fleming's new album Begin is out now.

He is performing at the Ipswich Civic Centre on Sunday, May 12. For tickets visit http://www.ipswichciviccentre.com.au

The QT has three double passes to the show and three copies of Begin to give away.

To enter, send an envelope with your name, address and phone number to The Queensland Times, PO Box 260 Q 4305.


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