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Brian Houston & Foy Vance – spiritual music

December 6, 2006

Belfast has been a rich source of musical entertainment and spirituality in the last three weeks. Such a change from what this place was like during the dead and dying years of the 80s and early 90s when I was first making my mark in this parts. Before you surf away however, I’m not going to say any more about Springsteen other than to comment that he delivered on both fronts. As expected.

The Sunday after the Seeger Sessions party at the Odyssey Brian Houston played in the Empire. Now I remember Brian from years back when he was playing youth clubs and churches and trying to make the break through. Fourteen or so years later it looks like it has finally happened, deservedly so, with the release of Sugar Queen. It’s a terrificly forthright album which plays well in a live setting

B000kn9g6g01_scthumbzzz_v34951044_And last Saturday night Foy Vance played in the Black Box. Again, Foy has been around for a few
years now, but seems set to break the sonic ceiling. One of his songs, Gabriel and the Vagabond was used on the soundtrack of an episode of Greys Anatomy earlier this year leading to demands for the single in the US. iTunes USA responded and it moved well. Now it’ll be released on 18 December over here, packaged with Indiscriminate Act of Kindness.

(Foy’s was one of the few gigs I have been to recently which I went to on my own. I propped up a wall at the back of the venue, drink in hand, like a sad wino. But I was there for the music man, and imagined myself a music journo!)

One of the things I like about both of these artists is that while they don’t make efforts to hide their faith, they don’t flaunt it either. What they do do so well is tackle the complexity of life in their songs. Brian processes the difficult relationship with his father or his wife’s illness with honesty and integrity. Foy’s song Indiscriminate…deals with a kind act towards a drug addict. No simple solutions, just a recognition of the complexity of life and the imperative of retaining faith in the face of the world. Great stuff.

And one more thing. In an era when every X-Factor wannabe from this side of the pond manages to adopt a pseudo mid-Atlantic twang, both of these guys sing in their own accents.

Check out Gabriel and the Vagabond and the animated video on youtube or on Foy’s myspace.

Best of all, buy the music.

From → Music

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