Sometimes an album hangs together so coherently that it becomes one piece of music; Irish singer songwriter Davie Furey‘s new album, Haunted Streets, is one such album. Featuring some of Ireland’s top musicians, including Steve Wickham (The Waterboys), Darren Holden (The High Kings), ELLYD, Susan O’Neill (SON), Clare Sands, Robbie Campion, Martin Quinn, Andrew Quinn and Francie Conway, the album features several previous singles that personify the folk-rock sound of the whole album.
Haunted Streets opens with a barnstormer of a song, ‘Flames on the River‘, an upbeat song with a catchy hook, immense danceability and an anthemic melody – it would be awesome to hear this live. The rockier side of folk-rock, the track leaves the listener more than ready for the rest of the album – it’s everything an opening track should be.
Moving onto ‘Secret Light‘ and ‘Farewell Returning Blues‘, we find a softer, gentler sound driven by the vocals and in the latter track, an acoustic backdrop. Both sing of love, with this line from ‘Farewell Returning Blues’ expressing Davie’s talent for lyrics:
I’m falling into you once more…You were a wound just about to heal, When I looked behind for a glance
The bittersweet lines capture the difficulties of disengaging from a dysfunctional, on-off relationship
Moving into the folkier side of folk-rock, the best of modern Irish folk music is to be found in a trio of tracks mid way through the album; ‘Just Like the Wind‘, ‘Who Am I‘ and ‘Ghost In Me’. I defy anyone to listen to the first of these three tracks and not be up dancing and air drumming – it’s a song that takes you over, body and soul. To a lesser extent, the same can be said for the next two songs, with a particularly fine fiddle solo in ‘Who Am I’.
‘Spaces Full‘ is another toe tapping song full of danceability that became an instant hit with me when I heard the line “on the 82 to Finchley Road” because as a north Londoner, the 82 is a bus route I’ve taken many times and it’s not something I’ve heard in a song before! ‘Spaces Full’ has a lively beat and is joyfully uplifting, made all the more so by Davie’s journey into climate change in ‘The Magic of the Oceans‘ with the line “the magic of the oceans is under threat, under threat, under threat”. The repetition of these lines, carried on into “we’re destroying it and we don’t know yet, don’t know yet, don’t know yet” enhances the message and makes it that bit more heart breaking.
Haunted Streets is an album that comes along rarely – a collection of songs that are knitted together so well as a whole that you can’t imagine them to be any other way. This is folk-rock at it’s best.
Davie’s advice for aspiring musicians is all about the music:
“The songs are always the most important creatures. Without them you don’t have an album, there is nothing to promote, there is nothing to share with your audience. Respect the songs for their own individuality for they each have their own character.
Learn your instrument well, whether that be your voice, your guitar, your piano, whatever it is. Personally, I can’t sing a song from a text sheet in front of me. The magic just ain’t there. I have to learn it and live with it and allow the song to reveal itself….not all songs do and that’s ok.
I don’t believe in song writing schools or courses. Listen to the masters and hear what they are doing. I have always gone to as many gigs as possible to learn, to be educated. Write freely and allow your own voice to come through.”
Haunted Streets is released on 19 February. Get your copy here.
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