Fil Campbell & Tom McFarland

Original contemporary folk from Ireland

“Together” is an unusual album in that it features two distinct vocalists. Fil and Tom have toured as a duo for many years and both are songwriters as well as singers. This album is a collection of work from both their pens.

The album has an overall theme of peace and reconciliation and these new songs (and one traditional piece) reflect today’s world.

From Tom’s “Birds’ Song” taking a wry look at the problems of immigration, to Fil’s “Talk About” admonishing politicians to do their job, the CD is a commentary on the people and places in Fil and Tom’s world – both musical and otherwise.

“Ring The Bell” which features local community choir Singmarra, is a tribute to a member of the choir, a fireman, who died a while back.

“Time” is a beautiful thought-provoking piece about the things we didn’t say.

“A New Song to Sing” wishes for peace and for a coming together of people While “We’ll Get There when we get There”, a very Northern Irish phrase, is another slightly humorous commentary on the political process in this corner of the world.

“Peace in Erin” was written back in the 1830s by a hedge schoolmaster and is as pertinent today as when it was written

And “Island Love” tells the true story of a couple who once lived on the island of Hallig Hooge off the coast of Germany, a place where Fil and Tom play a concert every year.

“Until We Meet Again” is a song for joining in on, a nod of thanks to the people we meet on the road, who sing along with us at concerts and who cheer us on from afar with their voices and their music.

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Back There

Fil Campbell & Tom McFarland

All the songs tell stories that are all loosely connected to the theme of wishes – wishes for a bright future, for change, for musicians, for love and for a chance to go back in time.

This is my first collection of contemporary songs for quite a while. I’ve been collecting songs along the way and there were loads that I just wanted to have on record. Plus I had the added good fortune of (finally) persuading Tom to sing a song or two on this album. There are a couple of our own songs and several by my favourite Irish writers.

Musicians Fil Campbell – vocals, guitar, piano Tom McFarland – vocals, percussion James Blennerhassett – bass Seamus Brett – accordion Nuala Curran – cello John Fitzpatrick – fiddle, viola - string arrangement on Best Wishes Danny McGreevy - uilleann pipes, whistle on Emily Brendan Monaghan – whistles Gerard Thompson – guitar


Back There (Kerr) (3:42) Come Rain or Come Shine (Francey) (3:34)
The Brightest Sky Blue (Cullen, Smith) (4:01) Best Wishes (Ashley) (3:06) Quiet Me (Jeff Barbra & Sarah Pirkle) (3:38) Shine You Diamonds (McGettigan, McCoub) (2:59) Alana on the Lane (Lee, Moore) (3:47) A Wish for Emily (Campbell, Cullen) (3:57) Make the Morning Shine (Goss, Rhodes) (3:31) My Cavan Girl (Moore) (3:44)
The White Beach (Campbell, McFarland) (4:07)

Recorded at Ballyneddan Studio, Rostrevor, Co. Down – Spring 2015 Engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom McFarland Cover photo by Bobbie Hanvey Design by Noel at Apex Print and Media, Newry.

Back There (Tony Kerr) This song brings me back to the innocent days of childhood.

How’d be lose the knack of simple wonder Jumping up and down for no reason Rolling like a pair of marbles Laughing on the floor Long before the world grew around us How’d we do without a bedtime story How’d be get so strong That we don’t need one anymore

Chorus It’s in you, it’s in me It’s the way we used to be Full of innocence and glory running wild So alive we would scream Finding diamonds in the stream And we can make it back there In a heartbeat if we try.

In the days when time moved so slowly How we used to stare out the window How we wished the rain would stop So we could see the sun It doesn’t seem impossible to go there Doesn’t seem so long ago at that I just caught a glimpse of someone You when we were young. Chorus

Close your eyes, it’s light rushing down a hill You think you might forget but … You never will

Chorus We used to laugh at tomorrow And every time we laughed we cried And we can make it back there In a heartbeat if we try.

Come Rain or Come Shine (David Francey) Tom sings this gorgeous love song.

Long road, dark night Nothing but headlights But I’ll see some bright lights When I get home to you Framed in your doorway With your arms open wide I’ll hold you in my arms, enfold you inside

Chorus And I want to tell you
 Come rain or come shine
 That I'll always be your love
 If you'll always be mine

Sometimes I wonder what you see in me
 Is it someone you're wishing or hoping I'll be?
 Sometimes I wonder, I can't help myself
 Will your love go someplace, with somebody else?

Sometimes you wonder what I see in you
 Just picture the sun on an ocean of blue
 Just picture that ocean so deep and so wide
 Feel the sun on the water, feel the pull of the tide

The Brightest Sky Blue (Enda Cullen/Ian Smith) This story song caught my ear the first time I heard it – a tale of misconceptions and the consequences.

The graveyard is silent his neighbours long gone There’s no one to sit by his side Though he hardly noticed, he’s left on his own Sean’s been that way most of his life But once he was young with a heart that was light He ‘d hopes and intentions a few At that time in his life he’d a beautiful wife And her eyes smiled the brightest sky blue

Now Briege was the girl from the end of the lane Seemed time couldn’t keep them apart He told her he loved her and she felt the same They’d each lost and stolen a heart Her father agreed and the match it was done Sean’s hands made her wishes come true He built her cottage of white, with a thatch of pure gold And a door of the brightest sky blue

Now they lived a fine life for the early few years Til he saw a strange man leave their place She told him no lie, twas a man of the road His hand left its mark on her face Though his jealousy scared her, what hurt her the most Were the simple conclusions he drew And she never looked back as she lowered the latch On her door of the brightest sky blue

Sean saw she was gone and he knew he was wrong His heart bore more pain that his pride He nailed open the door as a signal to her That he needed his love by his side Autumn and spring, winters, Summers the same He kept hoping his dream would come true And for long years in vain he sat watching the lane Through her door of the brightest sky blue.

There’s a letter for Briege if one day she returns He wrote out just what I should do In his last will and test he’d one simple request Have the door of the cottage removed I ordered the best men the town could provide I’d the planks stripped and painted anew Sean his past he regrets now he’ll go to his rest In a box of the brightest sky blue.

Best Wishes (Steve Ashley) I learned this from the singing of Grace Notes in Yorkshire and fell in love with it.

Long may the sun shine On your bones and on your skin Long may good fortune shine Upon your kith and kin Long may the laughter lines Grow into your face And long may you mastermind A perfect state of grace May you always love and season well And keep good company May you always act and reason well Wherever you may be And long may the music keep you Gentle and in thrall And long may its beauty shine To pleasure one and all

Long may your passion Take a stand against all wrongs And long may the fashion last That welcomes all your songs Long may your journey take you Down a friendly road And long may you learn the ways That lighten up your load May you always keep good melody And never lose your key May you always keep your memory And keep your spirit free And long may the music keep you Underneath its spell And long may you keep it live And always play it well

Quiet Me (Jeff Barbra & Sarah Pirkle) Life as a song, and a bit of Irish blues.

There’s a song in my soul That begs to be free It lies there a waiting Sometimes whispers to me It’s the perfect combination Of love, fear and sin The song being written Will come from within.

It’s best when kept secret Never rehearsed Each day a new chorus Each moment a verse It may never be finished It may never begin The song being written Will come from within

Quiet me, so I don’t miss it Keep me still oh my Quiet me, so I can hear it The sweet song of my life

My head’s full of static From the noise of the day I’m drowning in details And the choices to make But I face my responsibilities Hey I walk the line Doing strained casting rhythms On the passing of time

And each numbered heartbeat, Each precious breath Each fleeting moment We’re closer to death So I count my many blessings, Let the choir begin The song being written Will come from within Chorus

Shine You Diamonds
(Mc Gettigan/ Mc Coubrey) Here’s to you the silent heroes

Chorus Here’s to you the silent heroes, Ever there if we should call. Left unsung, you merit haloes. We salute you one and all.

Build our homes, our streets and highways, Light us in the dark of night, Buses, trains and planes and skyways, Rarely found in the limelight. Keep our families from danger, Grow your crops out on the farm, Help the lost and greet the stranger. Take the weak ones by the arm


To the hand that rocks the cradle To the best four legged friend to the helpful hands of healing to the love that never ends To the search and rescue angels Bring us home from stormy seas To the early morning risers Keeping watch while we're asleep

Bridge We live our own story line in every step we take Sometimes we forget to shine a light on the things you make. Chorus

Checkout girls and window cleaners, Sparks that fly and plumbers too, Butchers, bakers, football trainers. Where would we be without you? You guide us on you give us wisdom, take us gently through it all, In the war you bring us freedom, Pick us up if we should fall. Chorus.

Alana in the Lane (Paul Lee / Thom Moore) Remembering a day with a much loved little girl

Alana goes her way, down Ballybrooney Lane, and back again. She walks me slowly now, always the same thing: my mind is on the day, and Alana in the lane.

To the Manor House we go: a field of cows up there all stop and stare. They scare this tiny thing who clings so close to me – all hides and horns and eyes! – but Alana doesn't cry.

The future's full of questions now, all of them with rain. The farmer and his famous cows, and Ballybrooney Lane.

No need to cast around: a grown-up holds her hand, she's safe and sound. To make her feel at ease I laugh out loud, so proud to be the one to stand with Alana by the hand.

Then somehow comes the day that nothing in the world can keep away. And all that's left to do, as much for me as you, is to hold the mem'ry plain of Alana in the lane.

A Wish for Emily (Fil Campbell & Enda Patrick Cullen) A second generation emigrating with a battered suitcase to America.

The battered suitcase sits in place Behind our kitchen door it waits For another generation’s waif To take it to America Same words my mother said to me I’ll whisper to you Emily Just know that you will always be Mo leanbh - gra mo chroi

Chorus Remember love, when music fades And light dissolves to darker shades Whenever you may feel the need I’ll be with you and you with me

Oh Emily, enjoy the sights Of Central Park and Broadway’s lights I remember all of her delights Brooklyn Heights was home When New York City’s winter leaves When Northern snows begin to ease When you smell her cherry-blossom-breeze You’ll feel how loving she can be Chorus

Oh Emily don’t be afraid It’s just our ‘parting of the ways’ But soon as we find better days This road will draw you home The tears that hide behind my smile Make little of 3,000 miles They’ll separate me from my child About to prove she’s grown Chorus

Your battered suitcase sits in place Beside our kitchen door it waits Now another generation’s waif…. Takes it to America

Make the Morning Shine (Kieran Goss/Kimmie Rhodes) Don’t we all have these mornings when all we wish for is some sunshine!

Storm clouds gather under troubled skies Lost and lonely in the dark night I’m out here looking for a place to hide Give me shelter from the rain

Send me flowers all around my door Sing me songs like you’ve always sung before And lead me by the light of love shining on my life Make the morning sun shine Make the morning shine

Like the grass beneath neath the winter snow Waiting for a summer day give me shelter from the wind and cold And make the winter go away


My Cavan Girl (Thom Moore) Thom Moore’s lyrics are so beautiful, sung here by Tom.

As I walk the road from Killeshandra weary I sit down For it's 12 long miles around the lake to get to Cavan Town Though Oughter and the road I go once seemed beyond compare Now I curse the time it takes to reach my Cavan girl so fair

The autumn shades are on the leaves, the trees will soon be bare Each red-coat leaf around me seems the colours of her hair My gaze retreats defies my feet and once again I sigh For the broken pool of sky reminds me, the colour of her eyes

At the Cavan cross each Sunday morning, there she can be found And she seems to have the eye of every boy in Cavan Town If my luck will hold I'll have the golden summer of her smile And to break the hearts of Cavan men she'll walk with me awhile

So next Sunday evening finds me homeward – Killeshandra Bound To work the week till I return and court in Cavan Town When asked if she would be my bride, at least she'd not say no So next Sunday morning 'rouse myself and back to her I'll go

The White Beach (Campbell/McFarland) The story of an event that happened near us, where people were up in arms that the local landlord had closed off access to a favourite beach

Walking by the sea today I wandered back in time I can still recall my father’s hand Holding on to mine And the first time that he took me To a hidden piece of shore That his own father showed to him Many years before

He told me lots of stories from the time he was a lad About family summer Sundays with the picnics on the strand And about the Yankee soldiers that stayed there in the war Who danced at Ballyedmond and walked with sweethearts on the shore

Chorus And he said “Walk with me to the white beach And we'll walk there one more time Come and walk with me to the white beach And I'll take your hand in mine Come and walk with me to the white beach Past the Pond Field on the way We'll cross the moat together Come and walk with me today”

Then he told me of the anger when the landlord closed the way And a fence was built around the Moat and the Pond Field drained away He couldn’t understand just how they failed to see What the lovely White Beach meant to you and me Chorus

Now I’m thinking of the white beach In my mind’s eye I can see That lonely stretch of strand That holds such memories for m And when I’m on a foreign shore With children of my own I’ll tell them of the White Beach Close to my Rostrevor home.
And I’ll say Chorus

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A Place of My Own

Fil Campbell

Irish traditional women's songs

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Farewell To Cold Winter - Songbirds Part Two

Fil Campbell

This is another collection of beautiful Irish folk songs that were part of Fil's childhood repertoire, many of which were first recorded in the 1930s and 40s by the women singers of the day.

Irish singer songwriter Fil Campbell returned to her roots a few years ago to record the songs that she had learned as a child (on the CD and DVD Songbirds). Now in this second collection of songs, Fil includes more of the popular songs that formed the backdrop to life in Ireland in the 30s, 40s, and 50s as well as some of the more obscure songs that were sung by the women singers she profiled in the DVD Songbirds, the First Ladies of Irish Song. This recording is a further nod back to a gentler era of Irish music, the songs that were first recorded back in the early days of the recording industry by mainly women singers. Fil’s voice really suits the sentiment of these beautiful old gems, songs more suited to the parlours than the dance halls.

Fil grew up on the popular folk songs that were sung to her by her mother and grandparents - and several of the songs on this CD come from that time period. These are the songs that are an intimate part of every Irish person's DNA. She has wanted for a long time to turn the spotlight on to them - and having the added bonus of being able to turn the project into a documentary series for TV was the icing on the cake

"Other songs on this CD are ones I fell in love with as I researched and got to know the lives and works of the Songbirds ladies.

"For example, I discovered a beautiful song in my grandfather’s collection of old 78s called The Connemara Shore, which had been recorded by Jack Feeney in America in the 1930s. This started my journey into the songs of that era."

Fil tours throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe with two musicians - Brendan Emmett on mandolin and guitar and Tom McFarland on percussion and vocals. Their concerts are full of fun and bring back many memories for the audience who, in the best traditions of folksy ceilidhs, get many opportunities to join in. She also occasionally tours in the US, either solo or with her percussionist husband.

YOu can join the mailing list at to stay in touch and be notified of dates in your area.

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Fil Campbell

Songbirds is a collection of old Irish songs beautifully crafted by Fil Campbell.

"Campbell's warm lulling voice is eminently suited to old fashioned gems like 'Love's Old Sweet song' and “The Homes of Donegal”, and the musicianship is top notch". Evening Herald, Dublin

Fil's 4th solo CD is a collection of 15 Irish folk songs that she learned as a child. Including some well known favourites from the songbook of Delia Murphy as well as some less well known traditional gems from the repertoire of Maggie Barry etc.

The CD Includes duets of Love's Old Sweet Song with Sean Keane and What Would You Do Love? with Tommy Sands. Also featuring special guests Steve Cooney on guitar, Finbar Furey on uillean pipes, John Sheahan (the Dubliners) on fiddle and whistle and Laoise Kelly on harp.

The CD accompanies the RTE television series Songbirds - the First Ladies of Irish Song. All the songs were originally recorded by Delia Murphy or one of the other women profiled in the series (Maggie Barry, Mary O'Hara, Ruby Murray or Bridie Gallagher) A DVD of the series is also available.

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Beneath The Calm

Fil Campbell

It has been said of Fil Campbell that "she has a voice that could melt you while reading the telephone directory". This collection of mostly self penned songs is a departure from Fil's interpretive recordings. Contemporary folk? Judge for yourself.

"With the release of Beneath the Calm, her third album, Fil Campbell steps out of the shadows as a gifted songwriter to add to her reputation as a discerning cover artist. She has come of age with this recording and it will bring repeated pleasure to listeners." Ian Clarke, Downpatrick Folk Club , N. Ireland

"Beneath the Calm" (LMP 008), released in 2002 is the 3rd solo album from Northern Irish singer Fil Campbell and marks her first serious foray into songwriting.

" does she have a pretty and interesting voice."

Fil has a fine lyrical voice and is an entertaining performer as evidenced by audiences at concerts on her frequent tours in Germany, Holland and Britain. Her live set is a mixture of contemporary and traditional songs and she is recording an album of traditional Irish songs of the 40s and 50s.

Beneath the Calm was recorded in Sligo and Dublin with the help of percussionist Tom McFarland (with whom Fil mainly tours), bass player James Blennerhassett and guitarist Bill Shanley. The album features 7 of Fil's original songs, one title from the pen of Mick Hanly and 2 songs from another new Irish writer, Celine Carroll.

For further information check Fil's website at

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