PERSONAL insights and anecdotes form part of Tommy Fleming’s current show, which he is bringing to Ennis on January 25.
“We change the show every year. This year is my 23rd year doing what I do, so there will be songs from throughout that; some new stuff, some not so new. It’s a very personal show. I tell a lot of stories in it and it’s a very intimate show and very laid back,” he says.
He plays a show in Ennis at the start of each year but was actually in the county town late last year as well, when he gave a talk to mass-goers at Cloughleigh.
Fleming’s nerves fairly jangled before it but there was some good feedback.
“I was asked to do a talk and it was kind of on my life and faith and different things. I said yes to it and by the time it came around, I was terrified because I had never done anything like that before. I just said to hell with it now, I’ll do the talk, tell my story and a lot of people got in touch with me afterwards to say they had really enjoyed it.”
During it he explored parts of his own identity and experience in a new way.
“It was a bit of an eye-opener. The only way I could do it was by being very honest. In being very honest, I had to tell a lot of the truth about my life, where it was going and different things. Telling it was a bit cathartic to be honest because I had never spoken out loud about where I go, what I do and where I came from.”
He said the new show features reflections on people he has lost, including his two parents, both of whom died on the same day in March 2012. While he expected this Christmas to be easier than it actually was, his grief is different to what he felt initially.
“I think the whole dynamic has changed. We all have our own families now and we try to get together as much as we can and instead of mourning their loss, we’re celebrating their lives and that has made it somewhat easier.”
On January 25, Fleming fans can expect to hear a mixture of old and new. “There are the old stalwarts like The Contender, Hard Times, songs from the new album like Begin and If You Stay. Then we’ll be putting in songs that I haven’t sung in years,” he said.