Saint John, NB folk and roots duo Tomato/Tomato have been “Chasing Rainbows” when it comes to their new single.
The track is the first to land from their forthcoming album, It’ll Come Around, set for release Friday, and was penned on a picture-perfect morning with their daughter Lucy.
“It was a sunny Saturday, and we were reflecting on some vivid childhood memories,” John and Lisa McLaggan said of the song’s creation process.
“When we began writing for the album, we weren’t quite sure what direction we would be heading,” John continued. “We were, though, feeling strong pulls back to our roots.”
For John, that was how he grew up, listening to mix tapes his father made for him, complete with generous helpings of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, and loads of other early rock n’ roll in between. For Lisa, who grew up in Chicago, it was a draw to early influences of Motown and the Blues.
“The direction for It’ll Come Around was solidified when a long-lost family heirloom returned to our lives,” Lisa added. “In 1974, John’s uncle David died tragically at the age of 19 in a gas station explosion. John never had the opportunity to meet his uncle, but he knew they shared a love for the guitar.”
“I’d always wondered what happened to his guitar,” John said. “After we moved into our new home, the 40-year mystery was solved, however; as it turns out, our neighbour had the guitar and generously agreed to a trade!”
Inspired by this connection to his family’s past, John soon finished writing the album on the newly-acquired ’64 Fender Stratocaster in their home base of Saint John.
“It turned out to be the missing piece of the puzzle,” John said. “Everything else just fell into place.”
Recording It’ll Come Around involved a return to Nashville to work with producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Jon Estes. The McLaggan’s spent six days recording the majority of the instrumental parts with some of the city’s finest before returning home to round out the vocals. The final result is a high-energy roots-rock album with a vintage vibe.
“Chasing Rainbows,” specifically, also features a beautiful string arrangement by Matt Combs.
Tomato/Tomato have toured nationally as well as to Australia and the UK. They’ve received multiple nominations from the East Coast Music Awards, Music/Musique New Brunswick, and the Canadian Folk Music Awards, as well as awards for Group Recording of the Year, SOCAN Song of the Year, and the well-deserved Hardest Working Artist Award.
Their fifth release, It’ll Come Around arrives at the end of a year where the title’s message of optimism feels both relevant and needed, and follows 2019’s Canary in a Coal Mine, 2017’s Pinecones and Cinnamon, and both of 2016’s releases, So It Goes and I Go Where You Go.