Tiz McNamara is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the folk world. His debut single has been streamed over 2.5 million times on Spotify. His music has been championed by Dermot O’Leary on BBC Radio 2 and featured on Hollyoaks and Emmerdale. He’s also supported James Bay, no less. But the destiny of this Irish troubadour could have been very different had fate not decided to drop a piano on his foot midway through his studies at Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, forcing the former drummer to change instruments and re-audition 18 months into his 3-year degree.
‘Slippery Slope’ is a track that I’ve returned to over and over. It is beautifully melancholic, sounding like an ode to loneliness and the need so many are familiar with, to leave a claustrophobic hometown. Whatever the interpretation, it is ultimately extremely relatable, as all great folk songs are. There’s something about the husky quality of McNamara’s voice that conjures up Tanita Tikaram for me: it’s a direct, honest sound, lacking in any pretence or overly-contrived flourishes. The guitar provides the picked core of the song, and this apparently simple track becomes richer and more layered as it evolves. It’s gorgeous, gentle on the listener and one you can easily bliss out to, even if that belies its mournful lyrical theme.
Thank goodness for wayward pianos.