Sunday, April 21, 2024

Irish Rockers Colm O’Mahony & The Hot Touches Go From The Lap of the Gods to the Back of the Pub with Hard Driving Debut Single “Damage”

Emerging Irish Rockers Colm O’Mahony & The Hot Touches present their debut single “Damage”, available Fri. April 19th, 2024 on Spotify and all the major music services, with a companion video on YouTube. The full album is out soon.

Sometime in-between bouts of getting roughed-up by his older brothers for sneaking into their rooms and playing their records, singer-songwriter Colm O'Mahony saw Queen's historic performance at Live Aid in July of 1985. At the ripe old age of 4. You could say his fate was sealed on the spot.

"I can't remember the 1986 World Cup," says Mahony, "but I can remember Live Aid. I remember it was a hot day, and the way my brothers were just talking about it and talking about it. And, of course, I remember Freddie Mercury."

Helplessly drawn to the rock and pop hits that dominated the radio at the time, O'Mahony continued to defy his older brothers and cop listens from their record collections, slowly developing his own tastes in the process.

"I had to travel quite far to buy actual records and tapes," he recalls, "so the bulk of my tastes were shaped by the radio — songs by people like Tom Petty and Bob Seger, who were so effortless that they made songwriting seem like the most natural thing. And with Petty, for example, you would really go somewhere while listening to one of his songs. It also had a really big impact when I discovered Irish artists like Luke Kelly & The Dubliners, Paddy Reilly, Liam Clancy, and Bagatelle."

But it wasn't until O'Mahony happened to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert that the initial seed planted by music blossomed into a mission.

"I'm not a spiritual person, but seeing Bruce Springsteen was the closest thing I've ever had to a spiritual experience. I was converted immediately, and it completely changed the direction of my life. Within like 6 months, I started playing guitar and singing in bars. I'd been in a pretty bad place in my life at the time. My dad passed away when I was 19, and I'd been doing drugs before then anyway. But that moment just gave me a bit of light and, just as important, a direction."

Ever since then, O'Mahony has been trying to capture that majestic sense of being enraptured by a song that somehow captures your life in a particularly well-honed couplet. And with his project Colm O'Mahony & The Hot Touches, he distills all the pomp and grandeur of stadium-bound hit parade rock down to compact expressions that fit into a beer pint.

O'Mahony's native town of Killarney, Ireland is the type of place that lends itself well to the proverbial pub crawl, with a melange of different types of music pouring out into the street all at once. "You'll get Irish music coming from one bar," O'Mahony says, "me in another, a loud rock band in another, and country music in another. It's a small town, but music is everywhere."

O'Mahony relishes his role as one of the troubadours whose vocation it is to provide the songs that soundtrack our lives. "There was something really magical about all of us being able to participate in this sense of a shared moment," Mahony offers. "I know we don't all share the songs on the radio anymore, but I try to write music that hearkens back to that kind of universality."

Indeed, the songs on Colm O'Mahony & The Hot Touches' self-titled debut run the gamut from hard-driving rockers, to contemplative singer-songwriter chestnuts to lovelorn ballads. But, much as he might've been struck by charismatic icons like Mercury and Springsteen filling stadiums with their presence all the way to the cheap seats, O'Mahony's own music conveys a humility that feels more like having a good friend in your ear.

If musicians once aimed for the lap of the gods, O'Mahony aims for the comfort of the pub. As a result, his songs end up sounding big, but with a dose of modesty and relatability that ultimately makes them more powerful.

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