Villagers announce Galway show - and new album

Conor O'Brien and band to play Black Box in January

Villagers. Photo:- Andrew Whitton

Villagers. Photo:- Andrew Whitton

FRESH FROM their recent tour with Paul Weller and John Grant, Villagers, led by Conor O'Brien, one of the greatest singer-songwriters to emerge from Ireland in recent years, have announced a concert at the The Black Box Theatre on Friday January 29.

The announcement of the Galway show follows news of a new album, Where Have You Been All My Life?, a selection of songs from the band's three albums - Becoming A Jackal (2010 ), {Awayland} (2013 ), and Darling Arithmetic (2015 ) - re-recorded and reimagined, and seamlessly woven together. The idea for the album came from its immediate predecessor, the brilliant and much acclaimed Darling Arithmetic. Its pared back, acoustic arrangements were extended to the subsequent Villagers tours', where older songs were reinvented to match the new.

This led to Conor and the band - Cormac Curran (piano/synthesizer ), Danny Snow (double bass ), Mali Llywelyn (harp, mellotron,vocals ), and Gwion Llewelyn (drums, flugelhorn, vocals ) - going to London’s RAK Studio with engineer Richard Woodcraft (Radiohead, The Last Shadow Puppets ) in July, and over the course of a day they recorded 18 songs - all first or second takes, with no overdubs - with 12 chosen for the final album. Included is a new recording of ‘Memoir’, which O’Brien wrote for Charlotte Gainsbourg, and which she recoded for her 2011 album Stage Whisper, but which has never been recorded by Villagers. Also included is a cover of Jimmy Webb’s classic ‘Wichita Lineman’, one of Conor’s all-time favourite songs.

“The arrangements are in such a unique space right now, so I wanted to capture them before they move on,” says O’Brien. “'Where have you been all my life?’ is the line in ‘The Soul Serene’ I enjoy singing the most, that repeats itself over and over, as if the culmination of the themes in that song all come together to form one simple phrase. It’s such an overbearingly dramatic declaration of commitment and it’s what the session as a whole means to me; diving into a feeling head-first and letting it take you where it wants to go.”

Tickets go on salt this Friday [October 23] and are available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.

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