The Irish singer/songwriter pushes folk music into new territory as he boldly explores the highs and lows of the human experience
With stirring songs that shine a light on the hidden emotions people carry within, James O’Connor has become a mainstay on the folk scene in Ireland and the UK. O’Connor released his first LP in 2014 and has been earning considerable critical praise with every subsequent release. His newest album shows him taking a remarkable artistic step forward.
The appropriately titled ‘A Cluster of Narratives’ is defined by a sense of exploration, both sonically and lyrically. The opening track serves as a mission statement, with James repeating the memorable hook “We are the stories we leave behind” over a kaleidoscopic blend of guitars and meandering synths. Storytelling is clearly O’Connor’s greatest strength, as each song on the album goes on to introduce complex characters looking for joy and salvation in a cruel world.
“While I admit to all my wrongs, I leave the past where it belongs,” James sings on the title track. The struggle to reconcile the past and future is a powerful recurring theme. ‘Why Did She Stay’ tells the story of a charmed romance disintegrating into an abusive relationship while ‘Average City Street’ tackles different generation’s abilities to understand each other. While these topics sometimes make for an uncomfortable listen, O’Connor’s empathy and wit transform them into beautiful songs worthy of celebration.
‘A Cluster of Narratives’ is available everywhere July 3, 2020.
ABOUT JAMES O’CONNOR:
James O’Connor is an Irish folk singer-songwriter, performer and recording artist. His upcoming album ‘A Cluster of Narratives’, releasing in July, is a folk rock journey that celebrates the joy of living. From uplifting legacy anthem ‘We Are The Stories’ to redemptive titular track ‘A Cluster of Narratives’, O’Connor’s latest music is defiant and rousing, with unabashedly honest lyrics and a melodic Irish lilt that sets him apart.
Blending upbeat rhythms and a sense of yearning with an inherent folk spirit, O’Connor’s debut album ‘Behind the Scenes’ (2014) was praised by critics, with Hot Press describing lead single ‘Tightrope’ as “a terrific start [with] Kinks-like observational vignettes.” Prior to this, O’Connor’s EP ‘Falling Up’ (2010) reached #9 in the Irish Top 50 singles charts.
O’Connor’s career as a musician has seen him tour across Ireland and the UK, opening for a variety of artists including The Walls, Steve Wickham, Mick Flannery, The 4 of Us, Jerry Fish, Duke Special, John Spillane, Liam O Maonlai, O-Emperor, Don Baker, Pat Macmanus and Damien Dempsey. He has also performed at a number of festivals including Electric Picnic, Lissadell Fringe, Helium Festival, the Westport Bluegrass festival and Fortstock.
The folk artist has also collaborated on a number of projects. In 2009, he toured the US with Audrey Trainor James, culminating in the album ‘After Hours’, recorded in Tennessee. They later collaborated on another single, ‘Mr Fake’ (2011), which reached number 22 in the Irish Top 50 singles charts. In 2014, he and Andy Irvine collaborated on charity single ‘Warmth of a Smile’ in aid of the Midlands Simon Community. https://www.facebook.com/Jamesoconnormusic2020