Tom Callinan Programs

The song that makes Portland sing
By NANCY CUNNINGHAM, Middletown Press Staff April 20, 2001

PORTLAND -- The brownstone quarries inspired folk singer Tom Callinan to write a song about the national historic landmark.

Callinan will feature, "The Freestone Walk of Fame," on his next album titled "Connecticut Grown."

"‘The Brownstone Capital of the World' is Portland, Connecticut's name. Take a sedimental journey on the freestone walk of fame," Callinan sings as he plays the Bodhran, an Irish drum.

The solo album is scheduled to be released in June. It will include a song about the 350th anniversary celebration of Middletown called, "Middletown, The Forest City," and a tongue-in-cheek song about being stuck in traffic on Interstate 91, called "Connecticut's Lifeline I-91."

Similar to his first release in 1990, "Connecticut Troubadour," all the songs on "Connecticut Grown" tell a story about the history of the Constitution State.

"A song is easier than a history lesson," Callinan said. "A melody can give you a picture in your mind."

But, unlike his other albums, this one is uniquely Callinan. "Connecticut Grown" is an eclectic mix of mostly original compositions.

"If you like me you'll love it," Callinan said.

Callinan's musical career dates back to his high school days when he played the clarinet and saxophone for the former Woodrow Wilson High School band. It wasn't until 1977 that Callinan picked up the guitar. Chris Morgan of The Morgans, Callinan's other musical endeavor, left the band to pursue a career as a computer consultant, so Callinan stepped in. And, the band played on.

He composed "The Freestone Walk of Fame" after getting an e-mail from local fans. Town resident Kate Scott and her daughters Molly and Bridget recently e-mailed the folk singer asking him to write about the quarries.

"What better person than the Connecticut State Troubadour to write a song about the brownstone quarries," Scott said.

"We listen to his music all the time."

The Middletown native resides in Clinton with his musically inclined wife, Ann Shapiro.

Callinan will be performing songs of the sea and Ireland with Don Sineti, an original member of The Morgans, in East Hampton on July 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the gazebo on the green to benefit the Joseph N. Goff House Project. On July 12 Callinan will perform on the green in downtown Deep River at 6:30 p.m. and on Aug. 2 he will play with Ann in Clinton center at the gazebo at 6:30 p.m. His 18th annual South Florida Tour, An Ocean Odyssey, is May 4 through 13.