There is plenty of wind beneath the wings of Foy Vance’s stunning Wild Swan even before its release this week. It comes on the heels of his Joy of Nothing masterpiece.
Some of those songs were featured on Sons of Anarchy, Vampire Diaries and Grey's Anatomy, so you've probably heard his music.
Vance was recently signed to Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man record label and he is poised to tour this summer with the likes of Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and the album’s executive producer, Sir Elton John.
It’s not like he needs all that help. With a voice like a tumbler of smoky, aged whiskey poured over gravel and a shifting musical landscape that touches on gospel, acoustic blues, and smoldering soul, Vance is the most gifted singer songwriter from Northern Ireland since Van Morrison. You would hardly expect him to top something as good as Joy of Nothing, yet Vance gets right to work at it.
“Carl Perkins for the rock and roll/Little Richard for a Saturday night/Willie Nelson if you’re feeling low/play them loud but if you’re quiet and looking for solution/Noam Chomsky is a soft revolution,” Vance hollers over a southern fried blues riff on the album opener and yes, I had to stop and Google Noam Chomsky as well. He’s a founder of the cognitive sciences field and has been described as “the father of modern linguistics.” And you thought you’d never learn anything from an album review!
Dropping an obscurity like Chomsky in a lyric full of more recognizable musical and literary giants shouldn’t surprise anyone. Like the ends of his bushy mustache, his music is full of twists and turns. Raised by a father in Bangor, Co. Down who was steeped in southern blues, Vance sounds like an American soul legend instead of a Celtic folkie.
The gentle acoustic chords and pulsating electronic textures of “She Burns” call to mind the raw sensuality in Dave Matthews’ best work: “She is a little explosion of hope/never turns the lights down low/she can go there if you wanna though/there are no markings on the country road/no sign to show you the way back home/but when you get there you won’t want to go home.”
“That song is about falling in love again,” Vance explains. “’She is an explosion of hope.’ That line was the catalyst of the song.”
On “Cassanova,” he gets playful over a back porch country rave-up that’s so good he leaves 10 gallon songwriters like Tim McGraw eating their hats with jealousy.
“Tom Petty. Neil Young. Joni Mitchell. Van Morrison. The list goes on. I mean, what do we have today (that compares to that)?” Vance laments in the promotional video embedded in his website.
Well, we do have Foy Vance and thank God for that. For more information, visit www.foyvance.com.