Interview With Barry Tierney

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-10-2


Cork singer/songwriter Barry Tierney has been appearing on stages and television screens throughout Europe and USA for the last few years; recently he completed a 3 week tour of Russia as well as a 7 week tour of Germany and Austria. Around that hectic schedule, he has also completed his debut album, ‘Hotel Alamar’.

Barry explained it’s history, “Christian Best (producer of Mick Flannery’s No.1 selling album ‘Red To Blue’) and I started recording in 2011, we made one album but I ended up writing loads of songs during that period so we scrapped it and focused on the new songs; over about 2 years we’ve made it with a session every 2 or 3 weeks”

Life on the road is one of Barry’s main inspirations, “I’m an atmospherical songwriter. I don’t sit down with a set idea of what I want to write, I just try to get into a certain space while playing the guitar and then I try to describe it with the lyrics. Travelling definitely informs that, my mind is being invigorated everywhere I go. It heightens your senses, you see so much new things that you tend to daydream a little bit more, and those daydreams are where the songs come from.”

Having played a few concerts together, Christy Moore commented, “Barry Tierney is a singer who should be heard”, but Barry contends, “I think I’m a better songwriter than a singer. I’d love to be a full time songwriter but I absolutely love performing and touring too, being in new towns and meeting new people, you miss it straight away when you get home!”

One key feature of Barry’s songs is how he regularly mentions geographical locations – the song titles alone on the album mention London, England, Cavan, Philadelphia and San Diego – Barry thinks there are two main reasons that, “it’s informed by me touring so much but also it is my style of writing that I mention places in songs. I try to avoid the standard form of love songs, so by rooting your lyrics in places it gives it a sort of realism. There’s a reference to a place in nearly all my songs.”

His songs have won awards as well as acclaim, “I won the International Song Writing Contest in 2008, that was judged by Robin Gibb (of The Bee Gees). He actually then paid for me to record a single over in Norway, it charted in the top 20 but it wasn’t released in Ireland. Winning that prize gave me a real confidence boost, I was always writing songs even as a kid before I could play an instrument I was making up words and all that but that made me want to go to college and study it. That really turned me round, it improved my voice, my writing and my playing.”

Barry Tierney plays the in The Oliver Plunkett on Thursday 2 October as part of the Cork Folk Festival, and ‘Hotel Alamar’ is released on Oct 17.


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