New Songs: Colm Mac Carthy’s first folk effort features a host of guest talent | Jobs Vox


Along with his debut album, Colm McCarthy established a foundation to support Canadian musicians hoping to record new music.

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Colm Mac Cart – Stepping Stones

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It was a game of golf that was sent Colm McCarthy on course correction towards music. The Dublin-born doctor met Edmonton’s Sandro Dominelli by chance while on a golf trip to Castlegar, B.C.

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Shortly thereafter, McCarthy found himself in Dominelli’s studio, recording early versions of the songs that would eventually become his debut album, Stepping Stones.

On the cover of Colm McCarthy's debut album, Stepping Stones.
On the cover of Colm McCarthy’s debut album, Stepping Stones. delivered

Growing up in Ireland, Mac Carthy loved folk musicians such as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, which inspired him enough to try his hand at finger-style guitar, until the rigors of medical school kept him from playing. For 30 years, he didn’t touch a guitar as he practiced medicine in Ireland, England, and eventually rural Manitoba and Alberta. Mac Carthy credits his purchase of a 12-fret acoustic guitar made by Boucher, a Quebec company, from an Edmonton music store, for turning his life toward his love of music.

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The final Stepping Stones version, released in October, was the result of McCarthy learning the limitations of his song while recording at Dominelli’s St. Albert studio. They agreed to bring in a few professionals to help flesh out McCarthy’s songs, while letting his guitar player handle the tracks.

It’s worth noting that the vocals are provided by vocalists, courtesy of Edmonton’s Shelly Jones and Nelson, BC’s Mel Diachun. They add depth and color when belting out McCarthy’s songs and high registers with their sturdy pipes.

Dominelli is behind the Stepping Stones board, but he also provides a jazzy twist to many of the tracks, while Doug Stephenson lends his guitar talents, Darcy Phillips adds his piano skills and Christine Hanson provides the cello.

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The result is 13 songs of easy listening music; Soothing acoustic folk songs about staying hopeful and positive. Of particular note is the song Kurseong, a personal tribute to a veteran from Afghanistan.

Seeing the potential to realize the dreams of aspiring musicians, McCarthy began a foundation to help solo Canadian songwriters in the folk and pop genres record their original songs in a professional setting. According to McCarthy, the goal of the foundation is to create a community in which songwriters connect with music professionals who can help mentor and record their songs for the general public. More information can be found at

[email protected]

Check out Edmonton Journal’s Fresh Tracks playlist on Spotify.

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