Ernest Hemmingway said ‘Writing is easy. All you have to do is sit at a typewriter and bleed’. My creative process isn’t hard enough to invoke such heavy imagery, but there are days (like today) where I sit at a blank screen for an hour trying to figure out the best way to present a new artist to you. I always wished I could be one of those writers that seems to churn out a book every year, the ones sitting at coffee shops with their fingers flying over the keys with so many thoughts they barely have the time to get them all down. In hopes that it would stir up an introduction, I thought of a bunch of words that can describe Mr. Foy Vance and why you should check him out today, but I’ve already written this year about being a passionate performer, about sexy songs, about not having the words to describe someone and even about my love of the Irish.
Then I realized that the reason I love writing Music Monday for a company as great as Music Lives is because they let me write the exact same way I would talk to you in a bar. I’m never gonna say sh*t to you like ‘the syncopated fizz of the second verse really dramatically shifts the aesthetic of the chorus’. Ack, I hate that sort of music writing, the kind that makes me think someone just sat around with a thesaurus so they could write a snotty article where they call a band ‘somber’ in 7 different words, no less. When it comes to writing and music I have a real appreciation for people who just keep it simple. I always want my recommendations to you to feel like I just slipped a CD into your purse when you weren’t looking with a post-it on it that says ‘I think you’ll like this’ or a random YouTube video in your inbox in the middle of the night.
So in an effort to keep it uncomplicated, I’d like to introduce you to someone that has keeping things simple in spades. Foy Vance is an incredible performer from Bangor, Ireland that I found last week. In a world where everyone seems to be bringing their most complex show pony game to the table, he’s still practising the gold standard of musicianship: Playing his instrument beautifully, real lyrics and passionate performing. I’m not kidding about that last part, the first time I heard him sing the line ‘That’s the way I held you’ around 2:12 in his song ‘Regarding your Lover’, so much emotion flooded the room I was in that I said ‘Jesus H Christ’ under my breath. It affected me so strongly because he sang that line in such a way that it makes you think of someone you’ve held. That’s what real music is about. You don’t have to play anything intricate, you don’t have to take off your clothes or try and be controversial. You just need to write real lyrics about things that matter to you and perform them vibrantly and intimately. That’s what people connect to.
I’ve went over his entire discography in the past few days to pick out the best songs to show you his range today and found nothing to complain about (Okay, maybe one complaint today: I just discovered he’s playing in Toronto on Wednesday and it’s been sold out for weeks. Are you reading this, Mr. Vance? Release more tickets!). Through and through, every song is special, well-written and wonderfully performed. The first song is the aforementioned ‘Regarding your Lover’ and it’s raw and powerful. The second song is called ‘Feel for me’ and it’s tinged with a folk-soul sound like old Ray LaMontagne but with a sexy twist that has been making me wish for a slow dance all weekend. If you like what you hear (and I’m pretty sure you will), I recommend checking out ‘You and I’, ‘Janey’ and ‘Closed Hands, Full of Friends’ as well. So hit play, take a listen and let Mr. Vance show you why it’s always best to keep it real and keep it simple.