Tom was born on Tyneside and brought up in a pub on the famous Scotswood Road with clientele drawn from the Irish and Scottish communities. This is where he first experienced traditional singing and fiddle music; the Hornpipes of James Hill amongst his first influences. 50 years on Tom McConville is widely acknowledged as THE authority on the music of James Hill and produced the first CD devoted entirely to Hill’s compositions.
Tom’s musical journey started in the North East folk clubs in the early 70s. Newcastle’s thriving Irish scene provided the opportunity, with his first band, to support Sean McGuire, John Doonan, The Fureys, Boys of the Lough and even a lock-in with The Dubliners. Tom still credits the legendary Sean McGuire, the fiddle genius from Belfast, for teaching him his bowing techniques.
Turning professional in 1974 he joined Bob Fox in a duo then folk/rock band Magna Carta to play all over Europe. A memorable partnership with Kieron Halpin produced two award winning albums and top billing at The Cambridge Folk Festival.
His next group Dab Hand made several visits to the USA where Tom met with another of his hero fiddlers, Byron Berline. After a spell with Syncopace and a partnership with guitarist Chris Newman, Tom spent the next 11 years recording & touring with Northumbrian piper Pauline Cato.
Every new venture brought great success and immense respect from his peers and public alike. Throughout his many collaborations he has continued his solo show at venues large and small. “A sandpaper-dry wit, eye-watering skill on the fiddle, great vocals… you just can’t help feeling that a performance by Tom is like visiting an old friend” is how one folk club organiser describes him.
2006 saw Tom working with Scots instrumentalist of the year, Aaron Jones & All-Ireland Champion flute, fiddle and whistle ace Claire Mann. Along with Kieran Boyle, Peter Tickell, Dave Wood & Kevin McGuire, Tom completed a stunning solo C.D. Tommy on the Bridge. Musically brilliant,it attracted great critical acclaim. Two more solo albums followed: Tommy on Song and Tommy on the Road. Tours with these albums played a major part in Tom being voted Musician of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Recently Tom has travelled extensively as a duo with David Newey and with three & four piece line ups featuring David, Shona Kipling, Phil Murray and Andy Watt.
Renowned for his musical accompaniments, Tom has played on hundreds of albums. The list includes: Barbara Dickson, Richard Thompson, Allan Taylor and Lindisfarne. Whilst he has shared stages throughout the world with Stephan Grappelli, Sean McGuire, Mark O’Connor, Paul Brady and The Chieftains, Tom has never forgotten his roots and is as happy in the intimate atmosphere of a small folk club as he is at the largest festivals. Tom McConville is a world class act!