by Evan Philips
It doesn’t take long to see why Foy Vance has garnered so much attention - and comparisons to fellow Irelander Van Morrison - over the last few years from critics and music fans alike. Hailing from Bangor, Northern Ireland, his instantly likeable brand of anthemic folk-pop ballads with hushed backing vocals and sparse, slick percussion is enough to melt the stoniest of hearts. Bring his silvery voice into the equation singing songs about love (see Burden and Guiding Light), childhood (Homebird) and longing (She Burns) and it’s hard not to be taken aback by his talents.
Latest album The Wild Swan, released in May of this year by Gingerbread Man Records, marked a return to the studio after a three-year absence - and the music sounds even better for it. Bluesy riffs and Americana lap-steel are found in abundance; as are the heavy drums and rock n’ roll guitars a-la Highway ’61. These are particularly found on new tracks Upbeat Feelgood and Coco, songs which are sure to take on a life of their own on stage. The familiar ballads stick around too but with more considered instrumentation; the impassioned vocals and hammering piano chords prove a fitting tribute to the glam rock era and Bowie in particular on Ziggy Looked Me In the Eye.
Don’t just take our word for it - having already dueted with Ed Sheeran and blues legend Bonnie Raitt, as well as having Elton John himself produce the new album, it’s clear it won’t be long before he takes not only Bristol but the whole world by storm. This is a gig which is not to be missed.