Hey folks, so 2020 is almost gone, and many will, understandably, not lament it’s loss. Personally, it was a year I got to venture into new territory, like storytelling and podcasting as well as finishing my 4th record via ‘wetransfers’, ‘watsapps’ and online camaraderie with my long time brothers in music Ross Rooney, Christophe Capewell and Adam Downey. My acting career has been given a real boost with the news that I have been asked to join Castaway Actors Agency, a wonderful organisation that I’m looking forward to working with in the future.
So I believe I’ve used my housebound time productively. Do I miss performing live? Yes and no to be honest. For me, getting a gig worth doing as a singer/songwriter (I also perform as a folk singer and an actor which is a different story) was rare. Saying that, I would definitely prefer to launch this album to a live audience if possible and will hold off on release if I think there’s an opportunity to do that…actually if you’re reading this and have any suggestions to help me get my album out there please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
So the album. Well I’ve a record for taking me time getting albums out (2003, 2010, 2014), and I’m stubbornly continuing that proud Fia Rua tradition with Behind The Grey (2021). the album was originally going to be called “After the End”, but the arrival of Covid made me re-consider that particular tittle, a Covid album is one thing I don’t want to do, although a few of the songs were written during Covid, and were influenced by what was happening.
The roots of this album happened around 2014 when myself and Christophe were doing some gigs in Switzerland. There was a few times where he would play piano and I would sing and I loved the sound and the fact I wasn’t playing guitar. I imagined a kind of warm, stripped down sound, with a focus on the words and voice. We said we’d do something, maybe an album, maybe some gigs. Then I wrote two songs in a day at easter week 2015 in Germany (Church Song and Blood On My Knife). These songs were written lyrics first, then melody, which is something I don’t usually do. We recorded both of these and a few others in 2016 in Christophe’s sitting room in an old Georgian house in Phibsboro, Dublin. I bought an electric guitar for my 40th birthday and used it on eight of the ten tracks, the guitar sound was really important to me, reaching for other ways of writing and creating the atmosphere I wanted.
At Christmas 2017 Christophe send me Church Song with added vocals from Dublin singer Sweeney Lee, and I was over the moon, her voice was ethereal and added so much, Sweeney sang on a few more tracks too, thanks Sweeney. We had a few gaps over the next two years, Christophe was touring, I was getting a bit blocked in my writing, but by early 2020 we had ten songs. Our mission was to create something that felt unique, like it was recorded in a basement during war time, away from everything. Some of the tracks are very personal, some are fictional, some are based on historical events. I think it’s fair to say that I put my heart into this, there’s no playing to whats expected from Fia Rua (well maybe a little in The Ballad of Tony Dunne, a murder ballad following on from a track on my last album ‘When Mark Met Tom’), but it’s a introverted album that will hopefully touch hearts and please ears.
Behind The Grey will be released in Spring 2021.