Tuesday, December 04, 2012

WRAPPING UP 2012 with Seamus Fogarty

As December rolls in, time to catch up with some artists who’ve made an impression on me this year, to find out what they themselves made of the last twelve months. First up the nomadic Mr Seamus Fogarty.

As a subscriber to Fence Record’s Chart Ruse EP series, I was offered the extra benefit of purchasing new label signing Seamus Fogarty’s debut LP at a modest discount. I think I only needed to listen to one of the preview tracks available to know this was a done deal (and whilst the discount was a nice ‘thank you’ hardly essential to the transaction). Seamus’s induction into the Fence Records family began with meeting James Yorkston in Kilkenny in early 2009 (as recounted in this Q&A between the two) followed by an appearance at Homegame Festival in Fife that year.

The album “God Damn You Mountain” was released in April this year and I fell almost instantly for its “wayward folky sounds formed on guitar, banjo, fiddle and cello with the added curious spaciness of analog synthesisers, laptop interventions and sea-shell percussion; a mixture the traditional and the experimental, of the DIY and accidental”. I particularly like this from The List: "This is folk music that nods towards Irish tradition but with a dreamy, mesmerising feel all of its own; echoes of Scotland and rural Americana haunting everything... while the stripped-down tracks in the middle display Fogarty’s songwriting chops, it’s the more experimental beginning and ending that really demonstrate an exciting talent".I was then lucky enough to catch Seamus three times this year – supporting James Yorkston in May then at No Direction Home in June and at Green Man in August.

Here’s his take on 2012:

What I will remember most about 2012 is...
That it was the year I released my debut album and there was a lot of sport on TV.

What should be forgotten about 2012...
Ireland's performance at Euro 2012, although I suppose it was nice to be there for a change.

The best gig I played was...
On the main stage at Green Man. It pissed rain all morning, as it tends to do at Green Man, only to stop around 5 minutes before we started to play. I was in no fit state to be playing anywhere but it was unforgettable. [A video of 'The Wind' from the day here]

The best gig I saw was...
Tricky, not the man, the question…a tie between Jonathan Richman at aforementioned Green Man Festival and Hardsparrow at Away Game on Eigg

A record from 2012 that will be still be played in 10 years time?
I'm kinda stuck in the past musically (see next question) but I reckon I'll still be listening James Yorkston's new one, “I Was A Cat From A Book”, timeless songs. And Lau's new one “Race The Loser”.

Overlooked in 2012?
I spend most of my time sat in front of my computer listening to Gregorian chant so quite out of touch with the world…I shared a few festival bills with Euros Childs this summer, he's not really overlooked but I can't believe he's not playing bigger venues, a consistently amazing songwriter.

And what can we look forward to in 2013 from Seamus Fogarty?
I've given myself until Christmas to write and record an EP, its going well, lots of Gregorian Chant. I'm also hoping to take some friends into a nice studio before the summer to record an album. And what else… I'm also doing a big UK tour with aforementioned James Yorkston and The Pictish Trail which I'm really looking forward to, that's happening in March/April time.

An EP influenced by Gregorian chant?! Can’t wait. “God Damn You Mountain” was a vinyl only (with download) physical release. If that put you off, there is a limited CD version in the Fence Shop if you’re quick. And for Londoners you can see Seamus Fogarty this week on Wednesday supporting Colorama before two dates back in Ireland with James Yorkston. Seamus Fogarty live and on record is very different propositions. Whether you get to see him live or not, you should really, really get the album.

Seamus Fogarty - By The Waterside by Fence Records

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