Saturday, 12 March 2016

E.P.: Shane Joyce - An Introduction

Photo: Noel Hoyne / Design: John Wallace

Shane Joyce - The Same Old Song

Info: Kilkenny folk and country artist Shane Joyce, the frontman for The Midnight Union Band, has just released his debut solo EP, An Introduction, this weekend. Joyce cites all of the greats of this genre as influences, Townes Van Zandt, Dylan, Cohen, Neil Young and Van Morrison, and little pieces of each wander through this collection of 5 tracks.

Opening with 'Blame', Joyce confidently starts out with a polished piece of story-telling of a fractured relationship, a mini-snippet of Billy Joel's post-chorus on 'Piano Man' fell on my ears, as with the rest of the EP's tracks, he holds up a loyal mirror to the influences and genre he's drawing on.

It's Bob Dylan all the way on 'The Same Old Song', musically yes, but also with his message and theme, Joyce places himself smack bang in 1960's Greenwich Village with a protest song that fires a salvo at the new rulers of the world, the government that strips you to the bone, literally, as he sings '...pretty soon they'll tax ya just for livin' in your skin'. 

Shane Joyce - Those Who Pay Rent

In May of last year Joyce released his debut single which features on An Introduction also, 'Those Who Pay Rent', and I'd focused in part on Leonard Cohen's 'Famous Blue Raincoat', with regard to his tone of voice and the beautifully soothing choir harmonies on the track's latter half, revisiting it for this review, it still holds up. It's probably a good moment to point out that the songs don't sound like replications of Dylan or Cohen, but minor yet significant segments of them recall small parts of their work. 

We finishing strongly with the delicate 'Sophie', up until now the music has been wholesome in terms of instrumentation, 'Sophie' is bare and moving to begin with, the introduction of the electric guitar and bass drum raising it up and letting it down slowly again as the song progresses. Nobody who hears this song (and indeed the entire EP) could question Shane Joyce's early credentials as a serious folk song-writer who, thankfully, has something to say. 

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