Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Simon Fagan Unplugged EP

The first thing that struck me upon diving into the music of Dublin, Ireland’s Simon Fagan was the thick, rich quality of his vocals. Comparisons came to mind such as Ryan Adams, Glenn Hansard , Ray LaMontagne and Devendra Banhart. There is certainly a sultry confidence in his delivery which is well earned on this EP and goes well beyond the “folk singer/songwriter” label into blues, rock and soul. I could sense the American influences in his music and was interested in seeing the direction he took.  I was immediately drawn in by the pure, intimate and soulful nature of “Water’s edge”. This track has a sense of urgency and is adorned with lovely acoustic strumming and a yearning, soulful delivery. I felt the track could have been slightly shorter in length and still just as effective, however this aspect doesn’t detract from the quality of this song. “Tomorrow’s another day” stuck me as an optimistic track about letting go of the past and accepting circumstances as they are. Uplifting vocals along with a pretty melody go a long way in this track. “Something I don’t know” , which happens to be my favorite track on the EP, contains lovely harmonies on top of a eloquent lead vocal with a building piano accompaniment. This is certainly the “rocker” of the batch. This track reminded of the great Van Morrision.  I was taken in by the soaring vocals in the last half of the song.  “What’s the point on looking back” was very effective with it’s Dylan like quality. A folk song  about moving forward after a breakup. Great soaring vocals and a heartfelt delivery stood out to me. “Tired of trying” went in a laidback direction with lovely harmonies. The Bluesey vocal style was very effective. Overall I fell this EP is a great introduction to Fagan’s work, both lyrically and stylistically. I get a real sense of the intimacy, soul and power of what it must be like seeing him along with his talented backing band perform live at a small club.

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