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NI Music Summary - April 2019

NI Music Summary – April 2019

Noelle Ellis: Spring is shaping up to be the season of singer-songwriter poetry, and in some cases an actual poet. April offerings included Trucker Diablo, Chicago Typewriter, Emma Wallace, Sam Wickens, Many A Son, and Jim McHugh but first up, our Single of the Month Runabay.

Dig ★ ★

RUNABAY: The much anticipated new single Dig more than delivers. Featuring spoken word poet Stephen James Smith, this modern beat prologue, We Must Create, lends contemporaneous gravitas to this mostly indie-folk track. Anticipatory strings vibrate beneath James’ part courtesy of the Arco String Quartet, and segue seamlessly into the song itself.

Shades of Celtic folk are woven throughout, with the intensity of drum against lilting harmonies. With its genuinely hook-worthy refrain, and thought provoking intro, Dig will become a fast favorite. This amalgamation of assorted artistic worlds serves to remind us of the importance of creative expression. NE

Ravens and Crows ★ ★

SAM WICKENS has no trouble delivering a song with passion, as illustrated on introductory EP Send Me. The new single, Ravens and Crows, of upcoming debut LP underscores just how poised for greatness this young singer-songwriter is.

A somber, yet somehow still uplifting, power ballad this track demonstrates the maturity and aplomb gained since Wickens debut. An impressive vocal range, and phrasing that will break your heart, this soulful, bluesy tune will get into your head and under your skin until there’s nothing for it but to play it again. NE


EMMA WALLACE‘S new single Trespasser addresses those times when negativity slips into our psyches unbidden. Lyrically reads a bit like a feck-off note, melodically a delicate ballad.

Wallace’s vocals rising above the soft guitar with graceful acknowledgement, yet firmly telling those bad thoughts to be gone. The resulting effect is that glorious phenomenon that happens when you sing along to a sad song and it somehow lifts your mood. NE

Other Side of The City

TRUCKER DIABLO continue their upward ascent with the release of this Spring single, taken from their upcoming double album. It further demonstrates the four-piece’s ability to tease in the verses building up to each chorus, with the listener ready to belt out the lyrics back to them.

It has the usual licks and solos in the right places and the right lengths but is a step back from the hard-hitting Fighting For Everything. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing though. Another solid release. MD

Marjorie ★

IIM MCHUGH: The Kinks sang about Lola, The Velvet Underground sang about Sweet Jane, and in Monaghan singer-songwriter Jim McHugh’s new single, sings about Marjorie. There’s a bit of Lou Reed in McHugh’s distinctive voice, and the infectious guitar riffs at the get go cast shades of when Dylan went electric.

Expertly crafted and nonetheless playful, McHugh advises Marjorie to ‘just let it all hang out’ and stop worrying so much. Advice we all could adhere to from time to time, and by the second or third listen, you’ll find that you have. NE

A Warrior’s Will

CHICAGO TYPEWRITER: With a heavy opening riff that carries it throughout, it is a proper old school rock tune. Whilst it doesn’t break any new boundaries, experiment or divert from the norm of the rock genre in which they reside, it’s likely to be welcomed warmly by the Hard Rock fraternity.

There is no doubt this release is a grower, mainly due to that heavy riff. It just doesn’t go away. Maybe just a little too long at nearly five minutes but a decent tune all the same. MF

The White

MANY A SON: Secondary EP, The White, by the folk duo continues their exploration of the seasons. The White, is an ambient acoustic wanderlust through wintery themes. This modern folk collection is whisper-soft vocals over soft melodies.

Fingerprint, a quasi-spiritual outline to this contemplative landscape. Alpine, a rather self-explanatory track takes the listener to snowy peaks and planes, basking in the wonder of nature. Stargazer’s gorgeous melody summarizes the day spent marveling at the wonder of it all. And my personal favorite track. The White, despite its wintery themes, has a warming, soothing effect with sensitive narratives over tender rhythms. NE

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NI Music Editor, Gigging Northern Ireland