I was one of the lucky ones to experience Damien Rice last night at The Henry Fonda Theatre. Despite some diffuclties with the sound, which left Damien singing without a microphone on a couple of songs, the show was nothing short of honest and beautiful. It was one of those occasions when I felt so very lucky to be in love with music.
When I first heard O nearly a year ago, I was pretty blown away. I don’t know if it’s something about Ireland that makes for good songwriters, but I noticed a lot of similarities between Damien and Fran Healy (from Travis). Both songwriters have an immense gift for truly connecting with their audience. They aren’t afraid to talk about what inspired their songs, which can be intense at times. Enough comparisons though, Damien is certainly his own man. Having read quite a bit about him, I know that he travelled around Europe for some time, no doubt rounding up inspiration and reflecting, only to return to Dublin to make a record. You can hear the wandering, not only in his voice, but also in the music itself.
His music is not just terribly romantic and lovely, but so smart and simple. Vocal harmonies by Lisa Hannigan and Vyvienne Long add impressively to Damien’s near perfect voice and guitar workings. O will certainly be one of my picks for best album of the year, and the show was one of the best I have seen all year.
Best of luck to him tonight at The Shortlist Music Prize award show. He’s certainly deserving of the honor.