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Our pick for Album of the Year: Foy Vance's "Joy of Nothing"

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Foy Vance.
Foy Vance.

A more apt name for Vance’s album might be 'No Joy in Love.'  The songs chronicle love lost, karma biting you where it hurts and the feeling of hopelessness when you get kicked to the curb.

Vance was born in Bangor, Co. Down, but moved to the deep American South, which explains where the potent soul of his voice comes from.

“Paper Prince” starts out with a sluggish strut and a slinky bass line as Vance chants, “I’m on my own again as the sun still shines.” Like a Pixies' song, Vance’s music goes from a quiet acoustic strum to a lush, dramatic burst of sound on the stop of the dime and as the mood fits.

“I tried to do what I felt was right/but I know I f***ed it up sometime/but at least my heart was open/you were the one who crossed the line/but you could not go the extra mile/so I did what you were hoping/at least my blood keeps pumping/I have known your love and I have known your hate,” he sings on the brilliant “At Least My Heart Was Open,” an album standout.

'Joy of Nothing' features big names like Ed Sheeran and Bonnie Raitt, but it is the unflinchingly honest voice of Vance that draws the biggest attention. Songwriting just doesn’t get any better than this.

 

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