Monday, 3 April 2017

EP: Niamh Regan - Niamh Regan

Niamh Regan

Niamh Regan - Tried To

Info: Niamh Regan is a singer, guitarist and songwriter originally from Galway. She recently graduated from the University of Limerick with a Bachelor of Arts in Irish Music and Dance where she studied with leading traditional/folk musicians in the Irish World Academy. Her music is informed by Irish music, composition, innovation, ballads and folk music. Her main influences are Sarah Jarosz, Paul Brady, Tom Waits, Slyvan Esso, John Carty, Dennis Cahill, Josh Ritter, Karen Dalton and Sam Amidon.

My introduction to the music of Niamh Regan was towards the end of 2015, when she shared her track, 'The Sweetest Drop', listening to it again today has been such a pleasant experience yet again, and I'm not sure I entirely captured just how good it was at the time. Move on 10 months later when Regan released her second single, 'She', and that early soirée started to become something entirely different. The impact rose immeasurably, and the realisation that something really genuine was unfolding made the heart sing. For an artist who is so understated in many ways, the power of her song-writing and inherent talent can be quite breath-taking. 

Niamh Regan - She

At the time of its release I wrote; ''She' is a stunning single from Regan, and no complex analysis of the song is required, it is beautiful, the connection between pace, music, mood, vocals, lyrics and feeling are scarily perfect, there is no flaw in the track. If someone asked you what state Irish music was in, all you'd have to do is play 'She' for them, the song Niamh Regan should have written five years from now.' Nothing has changed, and I can't get tired of this track or its beauty 8 months later; 'Like a drunkard on a boat, steering blindly towards the coast, you need to rest your head....with a picture of her hair, and the smell of her skin bare, it drives you...'

Second track 'Tried To' is pulled with great care from the high era of classic 60's folk, probably about as close as you can get to wandering through a crowded room in the company of the greats of that time, Drake, Mitchell, McClean, Nyro, their majesty all whisper to you through Regan's vocal. With 'Come Down' we picture the song-writer seated alone with guitar, looking out the window of a simple abode, staring out at the midwestern plains, singing to herself and unknowingly to us simultaneously. I also noted a strong hint of Mic Christopher here, this track could have easily slotted itself onto Skylarkin', and I imagine a duet between the two.

'Come On' continues that mood, it's becoming increasingly impossible to escape the fact that this is a contemporary recording at this point, I can't understand how Regan has seemingly so easily (no doubt it was not easy!) chanelled the bedrock of a genre from the past with such aplomb and convinction. There's enough time for final track 'It's Over' to leave yet another mark on our ears, it's only 72 seconds long, but it is magnificent, the choral harmony vs. Regan and the clicking drum beat is out of this world, usually I would complain that it is too short, it should be longer! But not here, it closes the EP fittingly, a short burst of magic dust shot into the air, it accentuates the anticipation of what is next, for now though, we have plenty to keep us occupied for quite some time, an EP that, due to its execution, we can come back to over and over again, a classic.

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