Foy Vance has announced details of his forthcoming fourth studio album Signs Of Life and released new single “Time Stand Still.” Vance’s second studio album on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and the follow-up to 2016’s The Wild Swan, Signs Of Life will be released on September 10 on CD, LP and digital formats and is available to pre-order. Additionally, Vance has announced details of an An Evening With Foy Vance, an intimate UK & US tour to celebrate the album’s release including The Empire Music Hall, Belfast on Sunday 12th September 2021.
“Time Stand Still” is the third track taken from Signs Of Life following “Sapling” and title track “Signs Of Life”, which have racked up almost half a million Spotify plays in the last two weeks. The New York Times wrote that “Sapling” “harks back to Van Morrison’s better days, grainy and impassioned”, Clash magazine called it “an instant fan favourite… a song about renewal and survival,” while Americana UK described the song as “simply beautiful…all about (Vance’s) wonderfully characterful voice and the gorgeous melody it enfolds.”
Signs of Life
Signs Of Life is the sound of a beloved singer-songwriter at the peak of his powers. It’s also the sound of a man – a husband, a father, a sinner, a drinker – belatedly coming to terms with his demons. Driven by powerful percussion, “Time Stand Still” features a soaring, emotive vocal from Vance, who was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers at the time of writing.
“I had my first extended period off the road after twenty years of constant touring,” says Vance. “And I realised: wow, I drink two bottles of wine and at least a half bottle of vodka a day. I’d start the day with codeine to get myself sorted, and I’d smoke joints throughout the day. So I realised: I have so many incredibly bad habits here. I’m showing all the signs of death, getting ashen, grey, smoking more, drinking more, smoking more…I hit a wall.”
“It was my manager that made me get help,” Vance continues. “And in those moments, you do wish time would stand still. Can’t I just stop here and sit in this moment before I have to take up that mantle?”
Signs Of Life was recorded in three locations: Vance’s Pilgrim studio at home on the shores of Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire, another recording set-up in a nearby Dunvarlich House, and at Plan B’s Kings X studio in London. The album was written and played more or less entirely by Vance, with able assistance from young Northern Irish producer Gareth Dunlop. Serendipitously, Dunlop had been inspired on his career path by a chance encounter with Vance many years before.
“When I was around 14 years-old I wandered into a coffee shop in Belfast and saw Foy playing in the corner,” Dunlop explains. “I was completely spellbound by what I heard. It was a lightbulb moment that sent me on the road of wanting to discover my own voice and musicality. I would never have imagined that I would be co-producing a record with him 18 years later, and that I would be just as inspired and spellbound by what he does.”
Created out of the grimness of 2020, Signs of Life is an album of dawn after darkness, hope after despair, engagement after isolation, uplift after lockdown. It comes in bold sleeve artwork that reflects Vance’s desire to embrace all sides of everything, all humanity’s textures. Shot on a 160-year-old camera which does arresting things with colours and shading, the back image is of Vance as a bare-chested, bare-knuckle boxer. On the front, he’s in a dress, blonde wig and theatrical make-up.
“They’re just mad, striking images, and I loved the fact that it was male and female. You know, life’s extreme, life’s volatile, life explodes into reality sometimes, and stops just as quick. So to be struck by images on the cover made sense.”
At any time, Foy Vance’s new collection of songs would be a tonic. At this particular time, they can’t arrive a moment too soon. “That’s a huge part of it,” says Vance. “Signs of Life is about re-emergence – me in my own soft revolution, the world re-emerging in what we’re about to see as we hopefully go back to some semblance of normality. But just life in general – flowers growing through the cracks in Chernobyl. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?”
Hailing from Bangor in Northern Ireland, Vance independently released his debut album Hope in 2007, quickly garnering acclaim from fans and fellow musicians alike. His second full-length album, Joy of Nothing, released in 2013 on Glassnote Records, won the inaugural Northern Ireland Music Prize and saw Vance tour the globe with Ed Sheeran, Bonnie Raitt, Marcus Foster, Snow Patrol and Sir Elton John, as well as his own solo headline tours.
In 2015 Vance was became the second signing to Gingerbread Man Records, Ed Sheeran’s label division within Atlantic Records. His debut recording for the label, The Wild Swan – Executive Produced by Sir Elton John – contained the BBC Radio 2 playlisted singles “Coco”, “Upbeat Feelgood”, and “Noam Chomsky Is A Soft Revolution”, and saw Vance perform on NBC’s Today and CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Corden.
As a songwriter, Vance’s collaborations include co-writing four cuts including “Galway Girl” on Ed Sheeran’s 2017 album Divide. He has also worked with Alicia Keys, Rag N Bone Man, Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Plan B and Rudimental among many others, effortlessly switching between genres.
Last year, Vance launched the podcast series The Vinyl Supper in which he talks music, food and life stories with special guests and friends from the world of music, poetry and film. Recorded remotely during the global pandemic, series one featured Anderson East, Atticus, Benny Blanco, Blake Mills, Bruce Cockburn, Chrissy Metz, Courteney Cox, Devin Dawson, Josh Groban, Keith Urban and Passenger.
Foy Vance has headlined globally to sell-out crowds and splits his time between London and the Scottish Highlands with his family.
Sarah O’Moore Drops New Single ‘I Need U’
Irish singer songwriter, Sarah O’Moore latest single ‘I Need U’ is available now on all streaming platforms. The song is an energetic anthem that examines the wrong doings in society. The boisterous sound coupled with matter-of-fact lyrics allows the song to flow through an honest ravine.
Making heads turn with her timeless, sultry, powerhouse voice is Irish singer-songwriter Sarah O’Moore. Raised on a diet of rock Gods & folk legends, is it any wonder that her style pogos from contemporary RNB to soul? Drawing comparison from Amy Winehouse to Billie Holiday. Sarah is a voice in her own right penning deeply introspective and profoundly outlandish work. Borrowing from her Corkonian roots, Sarah’s songs carry the dark underbelly of societal demise and her hybrid fusion of rich lyricism and melodic roots make her a touchstone for current times.
From an early age, Sarah has always been attracted to the soul talent of Nina Simone, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. It was through cosmic wordsmiths such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison, Sarah was able to hone her craft. Pursuing her dreams, Sarah set shore to Bristol; where she is currently studying Songwriting at BIMM.
O’Moore has said that the song is about ‘the political undertones of the past year. Its after showcasing the Omnipresence of racism in society and the ongoing battles of minority groups. It’s reignited our need to combat these issues. Lets not have the victors steal the narrative and have its victims forgotten.
The song is rallied with immediacy with the use of synth textures and raw vocals. The song questions the latent attitudes of government power. It’s time to support, speak up, press play and listen away.
Sarah plans to launch her debut E.P, “social paralysis” later this year. Which will act as a testimony to James Joyce’s “Dubliner’s”. She will embark on bringing these 20th century archetypes to life.
Iconic NI band The Outcasts to take Punk to the Park
The ever-popular Belfast punk band, The Outcasts are set to make an explosive return to the stage at Ward Park in Bangor at Punk in the Park this summer as restrictions are eased and live gigs are permitted.
The event, taking place on Sunday 22 August 2021 at 3pm – 5pm, is part of the Open House Festival as it resumes after a year’s hiatus with live music, comedy and spoken word events throughout August and September. The Belfast born punk group, made up of brothers Greg and Martin Cowan along with JP and Petsey Burns, will take to the stage in their first performance since 2020, supported by local Bangor band Wasted Talent.
Formed in 1977, the Outcasts are legends on the Belfast music scene having signed with Terry Hooley’s infamous Good Vibrations record label. Branded by local media as “the band you love to hate”, The Outcasts embraced their bad boy image and were central to the development of the youth punk scene in Belfast. Forty-four years on, the band are now signed with Philadelphia-based record label, Violated Records and released an EP under the label in 2019, their first since 1983.
Lead singer and bassist, Greg Cowan, said:
“We are thrilled to be taking part in our first live gig in 18 months. 2020 was due to be one of our busiest periods including our first ever tour of America, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“We can’t wait to get back on stage and play together to unite everyone with a love of punk and celebrate the vibrant music scene Northern Ireland has to offer. With the tough times the music business has been through lately, it’s important for the public to get out and support local bands and musicians. So, I would encourage as many people as possible to come out to the event to celebrate the world opening up again.”
The outdoor gig marks the beginning of a flurry of activity for the punk icons as they prepare for a busy 2022, with tours through France and Switzerland before they return home for an Irish tour with fellow local rock band, Therapy.
Held in the open-air of Ward Park, all the Music in the Park events at the Open House Festival are free to attend for all ages and do not require booking. Guests are encouraged to pack a picnic and head down to Bangor for a Sunday afternoon of live music and an electric atmosphere.
The Outcasts can be found on Facebook @officialoutcasts.