‘CONAL MONTGOMERY’ made a wonderful acoustic rock from Killyleagh with ‘The Corner Stone’
I am a singer/songwriter from Killyleagh County Down in Northern Ireland. I am also an alcoholic and this small piece i tell my story of how running from my demons from a young age and battling my addictions has brought me to releasing my debut album. My daughters mental illness sparked the change i had to make to save myself and to be there to see her survive her dark battle. We are now both healing everyday and hopefully our story can give hope to others who struggle. Happy Being Free, 2nd January 2016 i stood on a stage going through the motions, i had come to the edge of oblivion and decided there and then that i wasn’t going to live like this anymore. I’ve struggled with alcoholism all my life if i’m honest with a need inside me to escape my mental struggles and dislike and inadequacy of myself i turned to anything to make myself happy, confident and also to run away from me. I have always loved singing and music and had a fantasy or dream of being up there rocking my heart out and i have had this to a certain extent as i have sang in cover bands since my mid 20’s all with the help of my old friend the booze. I needed something to change my outlook, to realise that i didn’t have to live like this and if it didn’t come i’m afraid that i was at the stage that i didn’t really want to be here anymore. My saviour came in the form of a little girl who was struggling herself. My wife and i found out over a period of time and heartache which my album touches on that we were dealing with a life or death situation here. This is were i stopped being selfish and with a sober mind had to be there unconditionally for this little girl. My song and favourite of the album Forever In Your Debt thanks her for saving me from myself. The album is how i see life, what i have seen in life and what i think is to come, it touches on our conscience, love, thanks, the health of our minds, family and the world we live in today and what society has learned from the past but turns a blind eye to let it happen again. I set myself goals, reachable goals and achieve them which i didn’t ever think i could ever do, in the past four years i have climbed a mountain with my father, past my driving test, written and recorded an album and everyday watch my family heal that little bit more. I’m in no rush to get anywhere fast as i’m just Happy Being Free, hope you all enjoy and find your own personal freedom .
Hi I will be releasing 2 new tracks over the next 2 months, The Corner Stone on Friday 17th September and The Shores of Killyleagh on Friday 15th October. I wrote these songs while in lockdown along with many others which i’m in the middle of recording at my old school friend Gerard Dornan’s studio in Loughinisland Co. Down. I aim to assemble them into an album when finished. Five of the songs are written about my hometown including these 2 and the others are co written with other people who through the pandemic contacted me with some thoughts and poems which they had written. These are just ordinary people like you and me who maybe find it helpful to write down their feelings or stories they have in their heads. It all started when a neighbour, John McNamara sent me a poem written in the late 1960’s by Father Liam Vaughan called The Shores Of Killyleagh and asked if I could put music to it. I posted it on Facebook and got a great response. The others who sent me their thoughts and poems gave me the idea to try and put their words into songs and then record them and register the songs and also credit these people for co-writing the songs when registering them. I thought the gift to them would be that they would now be registered as a songwriter, something they never believed they would ever achieve which I think breeds positivity, self belief and a sense of worth. I think getting your thoughts out, either on paper or just talking to another can alleviate built up pressures in us all.
The Corner Stone is a song I wrote about a local landmark in my hometown Killyleagh Co. Down. It sits half in and half out of the wall on the corner of The Central Bar. Many many people have sat on or stood beside this stone over hundreds of years. This song is dedicated to all the lost souls and characters who, like myself, struggled with their trauma and addictions in life but found comfort in the stone while waiting on the bar to open to ease their suffering. The names I mention are real people and the things I mention really happened. These people were the life and soul of any session but im sure suffered behind closed doors. This is for them so they can be remembered and I’m sure and have been told by people in surrounding towns that the song will stir memories of characters in other towns everywhere. While filming a documentary about the People of Killyleagh and Shrigley by folk legend @Tommy Sands he told me people make places and that my music gives a voice to the voiceless.
I have been so lucky to have the fantastic support of fellow musician and lifelong friend and ex Killyleagh man Damian Hanna who now lives in Holywood Co. Down lay down the guitars on The Shores Of Killyleagh for me and also my childhood neighbour Nick Watson who is now over 30 years living in Atlantic Beach Florida lay down the drums for both tracks. I will also be releasing a video for The Shores of Killyleagh which was shot and produced by Darren Brown and his son Joe from Soaring Productions who are both Killyleagh men also. A song for Killyleagh by Killyleagh people. The music will be released on all major platforms and you can catch up with my progress on social media on Conal Montgomery Music facebook https://www.facebook.com/conaleaf/ on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsNsFopz3S1IscnTulXnJmQ or Instagram @conalmontgomery. CDs and merch can be purchased on Bandcamp https://conalmontgomery.bandcamp.com/releases