Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Be Good or Be Gone

My friend Pat Thomas from S-F recently posted a best of 2007-blog where he shared some of the musical highlights of the previous year, according to his own eclectic tastes. Pat is a well-known figure in independent music - both as a performer and as a label head, editor, manager etc. There was a recent write-up on him in S-F Weekly, which is great but which just scratches the surface when it comes to all the stuff Pat has been involved with in the nearly 25 years I've known him... Here's a little quote from the article:

Steve Wynn, founding member of epochal L.A. guitar-rockers Dream Syndicate and an enduring solo artist, had this to say: "If Pat Thomas didn't exist, someone would have had to have invented him. Imagine a hybrid of Ralph Gleason, Miles Davis, Soft Machine, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Albert Grossman, and Stokely Carmichael. Hurts my head to think about it. But Pat does all that and more, in a way that's effortless and natural."
Among the recommendations Pat gave was a reference to Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan, who was completely unknown to me. I guess when Pat says that a singer merits comparison to Nick Drake, I prick up my ears and rush off to hear some tunes by the man in question! Here's Pat's comment:

Fionn Regan - I think this dude is from Ireland, he's a young fresh face in the folk/singer/ songwriter crowd and most amazingly is the VERY first person that I've heard in 20 yrs that has been compared to Nick Drake and actually has some of Nick's magic in his sound. sort of the missing link between Nick Drake and folky/acoustic Dylan.
Here is Fionn's MySpace page with 4 songs and a nice video of the song "Be Good or Be Gone". I'm embedding it below:

What's great about the video is that the acoustic ambience of each location is kept intact, so that we hear Fionn with real echo, reverb etc. dictated by the environment of each shot, ranging from an elevator to a church, a cow farm, a parking garage etc. - to a pet shop full of parakeets (my favourite, though, is the one in front of the "Tripe Dressers" shop-front)... Neat!

Info on Fionn Regan is still scarce, but we can have a bit of fun with
this interview Fionn has done with himself...

There were a couple of nice reviews in British papers. Here is Betty Clarke in The Guardian:

Fionn Regan was born in Dublin but now lives in Brighton, and his debut album evokes the best of both cities. Seaside imagery and Celtic romance flood each impressive acoustic rhythm, the cosy folk fighting off a chilly cynicism. The usual suspects influence Regan's style - there are the lilting high notes of Damien Rice, the scathing tone of Bob Dylan and the literate lyricism of Nick Drake - but the frozen heart and warm touch belong to Regan alone. "Step out of your dress and I'll wear you like a hood," he sings in The Underwood Typewriter. Hey Rabbit has the twisted naivety of Alice in Wonderland, while an acoustic guitar chases an excitable piano melody in Bunker or Basement. Woven through the wonder is Regan's gorgeous, easy voice, as spellbinding as anything his imagination can conjure up. Folk has a new Pied Piper.
Check also the MOG page for Fionn...

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