Thursday, October 20, 2016

Foy Vance at the Bowery Ballroom

Foy Vance was born in Bangor, Ireland, but during his formative years his family relocated with his preacher father to Oklahoma, Alabama and other parts of America's Deep South. There he was exposed to the rich music of America's heartland, a passion he developed and remained with him when he moved back to the United Kingdom (after some time in London, England, he now lives in Aberfeldy, Scotland). Vance began writing songs that combined elements of Irish folk music with American roots music. His career in music was a slow brew, however, with Vance recording his first album at age 32 and his second at age 38. These albums led to tours and strong professional relationships with the much older Bonnie Raitt and the much younger Ed Sheeran. Vance released his third studio album, The Wild Swan, on May 13, 2016, which led to summer tours with Elton John and Josh Groban.

Headlining at the Bowery Ballroom tonight, the flatcap-wearing, twirling-mustached Vance unveiled his reflections on life as he heartily sang his story-filled lyrics while playing piano and guitar. Backed by a softly-playing band, Vance's strength was in how he belted songs to a meditative background. Often, his vocal thrust and the bending of syllables coincidentally recalled another Irish singer-songwriter, Van Morrison. More evident, however, was his genuine appreciation of American blues, folk and country, which birthed a homespun sound that sometimes climbed to sing-along power choruses. It may not be long before Foy Vance is known as more than Ed Sheeran's opening act.

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