'Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences'

Posts Tagged ‘Damien Rice

Damien Rice at The Albert Hall, Manchester 11.06.15

leave a comment »


So, after an eight year wait the day finally arrived for me to once more enjoy an evening in the company of – in my opinion – the greatest singer-songwriter of my lifetime.

Damien Rice performed at the Albert Hall, Manchester (June 11th, 2015), with support from Lucy Rose. It would be fair to say that I was pretty ecstatic at having got tickets for this show; one of only three to be performed in the UK.

Rice released ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’, his third studio album, late last year to critical acclaim. The album contains just eight tracks but they each showcase Rice’s literary and musical genius. I have a couple of standout favourites: ‘The Greatest Bastard’, ‘Trusty and True’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Change You’. I struggle to seperate the eight however as they all feature different elements that I love. I’ve always found Rice’s work to almost mirror my own life experiences, particularly in relationships. Perhaps that’s why I relate to them so much and find his live performances such a cathartic experience.

Rice doesn’t use set lists, so each live show is truly unique for his fans. In Manchester he performed a selection of old and new tracks, with classics such as ‘Cannonball’, ‘The Blower’s Daughter’, ‘Volcano’ and ‘Nine Crimes’ thrown in for good measure and to great applause from the audience. Having been to see Rice three times now, I definitely witnessed a visibly more jubilant and chatty performer who was trading jokes with the crowd, recalling funny stories from previous gigs and his personal life and just generally seeming more upbeat than ever before. I have always found Rice’s personal brand of intensity and broodiness particularly appealing and quite seductive…yes I have a major crush on the man, just putting it out there! He reflected on the possible reasons for his downbeat demeanour in the past; the pressure of artistic expectations, relationships, money etc, but said that after “speaking to someone who specialises in these things“, he found that by stripping all of these things away, he was left with a much happier person who discovered that it might actually be nice to let people in and not shut yourself off so much. Who knew?!

It was great to hear some of Rice’s more recent tracks performed live, including ‘The Box’ and ‘Long, Long Way’. I’d have personally preferred less of the old and more of the new, but that is simply due to how much I love his latest album. With a new record in the pipeline, I’m sure there will be other opportunities to catch a live show and hear those tracks that he didn’t get chance to perform this time round.

All in all, one of the top 3 live shows ever for me; with Rice occupying 2 of those positions now.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

June 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

I Don’t Want To Change You

leave a comment »

The second full length track has been released from Damien Rice‘s upcoming third album, ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’ (Ireland – October 31st, 2014, UK & EU – November 3rd, 2014, Australia and NZ – November 7th, 2014).

‘I Don’t Want To Change You’ is as reflective, emotive and orchestral as you might expect, but there is a definite shift in tone from the bitter frankness of tracks such as ‘Rootless Tree’ and ‘Me, My Yoke and I’, as featured on 2006’s ‘9‘. Perhaps, after his time away from the spotlight, Rice has found some inner stillness and finally made peace with his history and histrionics. I rather hope not, because no one does heartbreak and repressed rage quite like him. ‘Elephant’ is my second favourite Rice track (unsurprisingly perhaps, given that it was said to be originally titled ‘The Blower’s Daughter, Pt. 2’). The last sentence is so perfect: “well you can both keep me pinned, ’cause it’s easier to tease, but you can’t make me happy, quite as good as me…well you know that’s a lie“. Just like Rice to flip the entire meaning of a track in the last six words.

All of the U.S. and European tour dates recently released have sold out, and tickets are selling online via auction sites for up to £2,000. I’m keeping everything crossed for more UK dates and will post details as soon as I get them.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 25, 2014 at 11:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Bad boys and tortured souls

leave a comment »


In various ways and at different times, I’ve felt a lack of love over the past few years. It is my belief that this began when someone really influential and significant left my life.

That person was Damien Rice.

It was 2004 and I had been introduced to the wonder that is Rice’s debut album, ‘O‘. It’s fair to say that it was infatuation at first listen and so began my emotionally fulfilling, yet completely one-sided love affair with one of the great Irish poets and performers of our time. We went on to laugh, cry and share such special moments in each other’s company. He brought my favourite female singer-songwriter, Lisa Hannigan, in to my life and accompanied me to a gig that I will never forget. He provided the soundtrack to one of my favourite films, Closer, and in my young and hopeful naivety I truly believed that nothing would ever change.

And then he left.

Not a word for 8 years. I heard a rumour of overgrown beards, mountainside retreats in Tibet and a possible loss of muse, but after a series of disheartening social media searches, I reluctantly realised that I had to move on and I really thought I had. Of course there were the six-monthly rumination periods were I would just sit and wonder how things fell apart, but on the whole I was doing ok.

Then something happened…


Rice surprised everyone this week by announcing the release of his third studio album, ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’ (Ireland – October 31st, 2014, UK & EU – November 3rd, 2014, Australia and NZ – November 7th, 2014) and providing a teaser video of the track. Online hype is huge, as is to be expected for an artist whose debut album went 10x Platinum in his native country. I think it would be no exaggeration to state that this is surely the most anticipated album of 2014.

To quote Loz herself…”I feel like I’ve been trying to cover this up – I still love him. I try to convince myself that I’m over him, but I’m not”.

I feel your pain Loz – your armed robber bad boy is my tortured soul Irish crooner.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Prepare to be truly drowned in sound and sentiment by Christina Perri @christinaperri

leave a comment »

ALBUM REVIEW: ‘lovestrong.’ by Christina Perri.

Christina Perri is a pop/soft rock singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, with the lyrical ability to summon your innermost fears and emotions, leaving you feeling exposed and vulnerable to the elements. If you also happen to be of the Cancerian persuasion, prepare to be most truly drowned in sound and sentiment…’A Cancerian’s strongest traits include being emotional and loving, intuitive and imaginative.’

Perri’s track ‘Jar of Hearts’, was an unexpected, runaway success in the US after some notable primetime television exposure. On the strength of this track alone, Perri signed a major record deal with Atlantic Records and set about recording her debut album, ‘lovestrong.’ The album was released in the US in May 2011 and in the UK on September 19th, 2011 and was the UK’s thirteenth biggest selling debut album of 2011. Perri has said that the 11 tracks featured on the record were all inspired by real-life relationships which she has experienced. She has likened the recording process to ripping apart stitches; re-familiarising herself with the pain associated with a particular break-up or hurtful experience, in order to connect once again with the lyrics and to accurately convey the emotions she endured at that time. It is this tender insight in to the complexities of the human heart that makes Perri such a powerful songwriter, with the ability to reflect on a perfectly relatable occurance and express it in a profound and piercing fashion. I always find it slightly strange and a little unsettling when I hear people remark that “…I hate all that depressing, soppy stuff“, perhaps with reference to the material of Damien Rice or even Perri herself. I can’t imagine ever listening to a piece of music (of any genre) and not trying to identify with the lyrics or not being moved in some way by the instrumentation. Most of my favourite tracks and artists have a tendency to air on the side of glum and I fully embrace their position…’A Cancerian’s guilty pleasure might include being changeable and moody, overemotional and touchy.


‘Distance’ has been announced this week as the next single to be released from the album. The track will feature guest vocalist and close friend of Perri’s, Jason Mraz. This is one of my favourite tracks from the record, going back to my earlier point of Perri’s ability to vocalise a completely straightforward and basic human need (the need to love and be loved), yet which, in certain scenarios and with certain people, can seem completely impossible. I’m also rather fond of ‘Bluebird’, ‘Arms’, and ‘Miles’ for similar reasons.



‘lovestrong.’ is at times a heavy body of work to bear, but with this great weight, comes its great strength. The album is compelling, heartbreaking, reflective and empowering; something for those of us with a distinctly softer side, be that visible or closeted…‘A Cancerian thinks from his/her heart and is very sentimental. Emotions mean everything to them and they can connect and reciprocate to the feelings of others effortlessly. Their motto is “I feel…”

Track listing: ‘Bluebird’ / ‘Arms’ / ‘Bang Bang Bang’ / ‘Distance’ / ‘Jar of Hearts’ / ‘Mine’ / Interlude / ‘Penguin’ / ‘Miles’ / ‘The Lonely’ / ‘Sad Song’ / ‘Tragedy’

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

April 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

“Please don’t bungee jump or ignore a strange lump”…Lisa Hannigan @LisaHBand returns with more light-hearted lyrical mastery on second album ‘Passenger’

with 2 comments

Lisa Hannigan returns with more light-hearted, yet fully-formed lyrical mastery on second album, ‘Passenger.’ The 10-track piece (11-track via iTunes) was recorded in just one week during a creative pilgrimage to a slightly windswept North Wales in early 2011.

1. ‘Home’

Word is very quickly spreading about the album’s opening track and it is, I’m sure, going to be a strong contender for a future single. In just the same way as ‘Ocean and a Rock’ set debut album ‘Sea Sew’ ‘s tone perfectly and delicately, so too does ‘Home.’ The track opens to a sweeping and orchestral swell, with visions of Hannigan setting sail from her native Ireland over to America to begin her last tour.  This time however, she’s not alone on her journey and speaks about the fact that her and her fellow traveller will not be coming back anytime soon, their possessions being merely those that they stand up in. Hannigan talks of sewing or pinning people and places to her, so that she might carry them around with her, for better or for worse; “…And oh, every promise that we broke, is sewn to our clothes, now we are pinned to the wind I suppose.” I like the concept of never being able to escape from your actions and words, despite how far you might travel or who you might be travelling with. I’ve played this track several times already and it is fast becoming one of my most fond favourites.

2. ‘A Sail’

This is the most serene of all the tracks on the album, yet still manages to remain upbeat with double bass and fiddle accompaniment. Hannigan describes her sound as “plinky plonk rock” which will make perfect sense upon listening to this track. It is hard to imagine a more perfect sound to accompany such rousing and rich string instruments than that of Hannigan’s voice and I am yet to hear a contender to her title of Ireland’s favourite folk queen.

3. ‘Knots’

‘Knots’ was the first single to be released from the album and was accompanied by a quirky and colourful video, involving Hannigan being doused with spray paint whilst performing the track with just her ukulele and dwindling pride. It is all good natured fun however and no Hannigans were injured during production. This track allows her to showcase her technical proficiency in multiple pitches and impressive skills on the wonderful ukulele, as she recalls what appears to be the morning after a particularly hazy yet heavenly night before. She sits on a stoop with her high heels and her old dress, next to a companion whom she claims to have lost herself in, haven’t we all after a few too many Schnapps.

4. ‘What’ll I Do’

I’ve commented in previous reviews as to the wonder of Hannigan’s live band accompaniment. Gavin Glass and Shane Fitzsimons are just two of the multi-talented members of Hannigan’s ensemble and the chemistry and timing between the players is truly something to behold in a live setting. This punchy number will be particularly special when performed on Hannigan’s upcoming cathedral tour of the UK; I will be reviewing the Salford date at St Philips, so I am presently counting down the days. The track speaks about how every day things can seem difficult or challenging when a particular person is not around, ” …What’ll I do now that you’re gone, my boat won’t row, my bus doesn’t come.” Such occurences, of course, being purely circumstantial as opposed to an unfortunate twist of romantic fate, yet I enjoy the sentiment very much. Hannigan’s music often focuses on long distance relationships and the feeling of missing someone or something back home; this album continues the tradition, with imagery such as, “I have the fingers, you’ve got the thumb” and unless you happen to be of the feline persuasion, we all know the benefits of opposable thumbs.

5. ‘O Sleep’ featuring Ray LaMontagne

We are treated to a softer tone in LaMontagne‘s vocals on this delicate and dreamy track, a tone which compliments that of Hannigan quite pleasingly; there could only ever be one perfectly complementary vocal for Hannigan in my eyes and that shall forever remain, the equally as haunting, Damien RiceLaMontagne, on this occasion however, fits the bill most sufficiently and it would be both unfair and fruitless to compare the two artists.

6. ‘Paper House’

This is one of my favourite tracks from the album, due largely to its storytelling quality and to the unmistakeably Irish lilt in Hannigan’s voice. The track focuses on a past relationship which blossomed in a paper house on the edge of Dublin, the foundations I’m guessing being purely metaphorical, unless the Taoiseach has come up with a novel, yet meteorologically-flawed solution to getting Ireland’s upwardly-mobile on the property ladder.  The protagonists of the story are young, having but each other and the theme of temporary bliss appears to be recurrent here. I should note that this implied theme never comes across as cynicism, which I believe is once again a result of Hannigan’s pure and eternally-hopeful take on modern folk.

7. ‘Little Bird’

This beautifully composed track serves as a soft dedication to an old friend or perhaps former partner, touching upon past harsh words that had been shared, yet acknowledging the fondness that still remained. Both parties left the friendship or union equally inspired by the other, yet somehow still experience the same feelings of loneliness, perhaps a creative loneliness or loss of appetite  for a passion which they once felt. Hannigan has never publicly stated that her songwriting is particularly autobiographical, but her lyrics would certainly seem to echo or mirror events and relationships which she could quite realistically have experienced…draw your own conclusions with this one.

8. ‘Passenger’

I first heard this track performed live on Hannigan’s last tour of the UK. ‘Passenger’  has the most traditional Irish folk sound on the album, which is probably why I can’t help but deem it to be my favourite. Hannigan namechecks several US towns and cities which she visited whilst writing this track and the album in its entirety. As she travels from place to place, the landscape may change but the focus of her mind and heart does not: that certain someone back home. The track echoes debut album favourites, ‘Venn Diagram’ and ‘Ocean and a Rock’ in their heartfelt dedication and emotional longing, but Hannigan again manages to infuse a dash of comedy to the proceedings, as only she can. Definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album for me.

9. ‘Safe Travels (Don’t Die)’

I fell in love with this track on the first listen. Hannigan successfully delivers a combination of cute comedy and  poignant references in this quirky take on the traditional goodbye. Hannigan’s voice has a genuine and warm quality, revealing even the most carefully hidden of lyrical messages. My favourite lines include, “please don’t bungee jump, or ignore a strange lump” and “and I would be sorry if due to your hurry, you were hit by a lorry.” This will be a joy to listen to at a live show and would make a great closing track to lighten the mood post-show.

10. ‘Nowhere To Go’

Hannigan’s voice is the shining star of this track for me; it almost feels formulaic to talk about a theme or possible inspiration, such is the emotive power of Hannigan’s dazzling vocal narration. Luckily however for lovers of mathematics everywhere, I shall stick to my aforementioned formula, as the theme of this track resonates quite strongly with me. Hannigan speaks about your heart holding more than your hand and describes someone as wearing, “…so many hearts on your sleeve.” The subject of the track never has nowhere to go and what they feel inside far outweighs their material or physical possession. Imaginative Writing graduate that I am, I read this track to be a metaphor for the universal minefield that is, the modern relationship: the longing to feel any sort of connection or common ground which would seem to validate the authenticity of that relationship and the vicious circle that is consequently summoned – the temporary relief that the discovery of a connection administers and the subconscious fear that what you actually feel (the connection) is what you choose to feel, rather than what you truly possess in the cold light of day. Or it could be about being bored on a Saturday night because all of your mates have gone out and you’re skint…

Tickets for Lisa Hannigan’s upcoming UK tour can be purchased via the link below: / /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

October 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

Ethereal sounds of Erica Buettner and moodful melodies of Mike Cavanaugh

leave a comment »


I thought I would share two new discoveries with you this week; the ethereal sounds of Erica Buettner and the moodful melodies of Mike Cavanaugh.

Both singer-songwriters hail from the Northeast of the US; however Buettner now resides in that whimsical and wonderful metropolis that is Paris, France, whilst Cavanaugh is currently based in Boston. Location-aside; both do possess creative and artistic similarities, in their shared love of romantic lyrical imagery and sweeping sentiments. This is like candy to the proverbial baby for me.

Buettner moved to Paris in order to study French and Literature; can it get any more idyllic? According to her MySpace profile (, her music can be heard softly playing ‘in french bookshops and parisian clubs‘…it’s the stuff of dreams really, isn’t it. I really like the continental-sounding opening of ‘Time Traveling’ and the fable-inspired ode to love and life that is ‘True Love and Water’ . I can just picture myself back in that dimly-lit cafe on the Champs-Elysees, sipping on my scorching hot chocolate (still the nicest one I have ever had, to date) and counting out our pennies to see whether we could stretch to two main meals that night…ah young love, it’d be sweet if I hadn’t lost at least a stone in a week…

There aren’t many video clips of Buettner on YouTube or the likes; best to take a look at her MySpace profile for up-to-date tracks and live performances.

Cavanaugh cites his influences as Ray LaMontagne, Damien Rice and The Swell Season and you can certainly hear elements of each within his music. Possessing a similarly low-key and gravelly tone as Rice; Cavanaugh sounds pitch perfect on tracks such as ‘What You’re Doing to Me’ and ‘Don’t Ask Me.’ With just an acoustic guitar for company, this musician leaves his peers in  the shade with his complex yet complementary mix of moody blues and breezy beats. ‘Hold On’ has a James Blunt sound to it; perhaps unsurprisingly so, as Cavanaugh is quite the fan of the British wordsmith.
I wish we got to see more of the, undoubtedly numerous, promising singer-songwriters from beyond our shores, but alas, unless they’re spotted in the right place and at the right time they’re probably destined to remain that little bit out of reach, for now.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

%d bloggers like this: