It’s been six or seven years since Raymond Coleman, one of the Philadelphia area’s most popular Irish musicians, has recorded an album. The first was “Trouble (with a Capital T.)”
Now, he’s getting ready to work on the next one—as yet unnamed—and it promises to be a real crowd-pleaser. Best of all, proceeds benefit autism awareness.
The long pandemic-imposed break in live performances gave Coleman time to think about the sorts of tunes he wants to put on the CD, which he’ll be recording at Cove Island Productions, with multitalented local musician Gabriel Donohue producing.
“I’m just trying to get things organized,” he says. “People have been asking when I’d be doing the next recording, and every year I’ve said, ‘It’s coming’.”
This time, he really means it.
Coleman has set a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, trying to raise the $8,000 necessary to produce the recording. He’s a little over a quarter of the way there. “I’m not big into doing that kind of thing,” he says, “I don’t really like doing it, but people do it all the time. Gabriel said to me, ‘Put up the bloody thing’.”
There are varying levels of incentives to donate, from an early digital release for a $20 donation to a private performance for donations of $1,000 or more.
Coleman hopes to get the recording out by the summer.
Many of the tunes on the CD—probably 10 or 11 tracks—are likely to be ones that Coleman’s fans already know and love. Some will be new. “I’m thinking of trying to get a song to recognize Liam Reilly from (the band) Bagatelle, who we lost this year,” Coleman says. “I’m putting one of my favorites on there. It’s called ‘Johnny, Set ‘em Up Tonight.’ And we’re talking about putting on a Christy Hennessy one, ‘Roll Back the Clouds.’ A good friend of mine, Michael Camp, he’s written a song. He wrote it about 20 years ago about a hangover that he had from his crazy times, and it’s called, ‘Why Don’t You Leave’. I said to him, ‘Camp, I really need that one on the album,’ and he says, ‘You can have it’.”
Coleman has already previewed some of those tunes in Facebook streaming performances.
He is also hoping to record some original work. “I’m not a big songwriter,” he says. “I’m trying to get some songs that I’ve written on the album. I have one so far. It’s called ‘Angel Wings.’ Maybe by the time I’m done with Gabriel, maybe he and I will write one, all things being well. So we’ll see where it lays and what we come up with. We’ll not know until we get that feeling when we’re together eight hours a day and get sick of looking at each other.”
There might also be some songs that were on the previous album, such as “Motherland,” perhaps with a new arrangement.
Coleman aims to have guest appearances by several well-known Irish musicians, such as tin whistle-flute whiz Joanie Madden, Lúnasa fiddler Colin Farrell and Donohue.
Once the recording starts, Coleman says, it’ll be 24/7 until it’s done. “Isn’t that what rock stars do?” he laughs.
Which is just fine with him.
“I love recording an album, but I hate being in the studio,” he says. “It’s the boringest, longest time ever. When you get your vocals down, it’s good, but it’s very stressful. It’s going over vocals to make sure you get them perfect, make sure you get them right. You might sing the songs 10 times over. And I think maybe it’s a musician thing. It’s like my first album. I don’t listen to my first album because if I keep listening to it, I hear mistakes that I don’t like. So Gabriel gives me the heads up and I say, ‘Yep, you like that?’ And he says, ‘Yeah.’ And I just say, ‘All right, I trust you. You have to trust your buddy, you know?”