Phil, Neel, Mike, and John
Phil, Neel, Mike, and John

Tomato Tomato and How Writing Simple Songs Can Be Complicated

This week SongTalk welcomed John from Tomato Tomato to our virtual studio.

They just might be Atlantic Canada’s most entertaining musical duo. The New Brunswick based pair – John and Lisa McLaggan – have built a reputation on a live show that is as much about their on-stage charisma as their musical multi-tasking and vocal excellence. This compelling mix has seen the duo build audiences and develop friendships across Canada through performances at major venues and festivals; and win over international audiences with repeat visits to Australia and the UK.

Equally well received by critics, the duo have received nominations from ECMA, Music/Musique NB, and the Canadian Folk Music Awards, winning awards for Group Recording of the Year, SOCAN Song of the Year, and a well-deserved Hardest Working Artist award!

For their fifth record, they returned to Nashville in March to record with producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist, Jon Estes, and an amazing group of Nashville based musicians. With most of the record complete, they returned home just in time for lockdown where they recorded their vocals and finished the record.

We are happy to have John and Tomato Tomato’s fresh new recording – a barnstorming new roots / rock record – as a guest on SongTalk Radio.

We had a great conversation with John about:

  • writing for the perspective of two vocalists, male and female
  • his journey from jazz musician to folk artist
  • how playing cover songs will improve your songwriting
  • the evolution of his lyric-writing
  • working with the great Nashville musician Matt Combs



We talked about a Pitchfork article on Decolonizing Western Music – Khyam Allami creates recording software that is not constrained by Western Music structures, Check it out.



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