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Friday, October 05, 2007

Contemplating the Magic of Fionn Regan - Artist of the Week

Haunted. I suppose that's the best way to put the spirit I have been left in since seeing Irish troubadour Fionn Regan play a week ago. I will add that it's "haunted in a most wonderful way" - but I move through my days and periodically think back on Regan's diminutive frame and his shy nature and his slow but assured words and dead accurate guitar. The Irish singer-songwriter is a modern treasure. For those who have not been exposed - here we go...

Fionn Regan

I was contacted by an ally at Filter Magazine to see if I wanted to attend the Fionn Regan show at Cambridge's Lizard Lounge (a sensational venue for it's intimate setting and great location - just a couple blocks north of Harvard Square.) While already exhausted from work and some recent shows of late I snapped at the chance. I knew only one Fionn Regan song but it was enough to get me out. And, as I said, the show would prove to be magnificent!

When one arrives at the Lizard Lounge, you walk down a staircase into what appears to be an oversized den or a miniature lounge. It's a single room shaped a bit like an opened box (with the four panels laid open like a cross. The artists perform in the middle flanked by the building's structural supports. The audience, who quickly become enthusiasts in this amazing setting - are rapt into what occurs just feet in front of them. You kind of forget everything else going on at the time - this is the world. This was all-the-more-true with Fionn Regan.

The debut album "The End of History"
will appear on my best of collection for 2007

I suppose the thing that shocks me the most is how much Fionn doesn't struggle with his instrument or his words when he plays. The words are spoken as if they are part of his alphabet - his hands move across the guitar as if directed by some higher power. Not really sure how else to describe it. Song after song - I kept waiting for a lesser quality track or a break in the spell. It never came. Actually - at this time and in this place, the strength of this songwriter's hold on the audience only grew. And grew. In between songs, the shy Fionn stumbled through his words and rarely made eye contact. He told polite little jokes which were evidently his means to get through the show. But when he picked up the guitar, he became alive in a way I have rarely seen. In each track through the first chorus, the artist would look up and quickly measure the audience. Emboldened by their attentiveness, his singing grew stronger. It was a perfect example of an artist feeding off the crowd's energy.


By the time Fionn reached the end of the show with "Be Good or Be Gone" - he had dozens of dedicated fans. We sang with him. Slowly and softly, like all those voices and his guitar belonged in the track and in the room together. I have since looked out into the internet searching for a comparable version of the song recorded live. There has been none - it was a moment. We all sang and when Fionn slowed down to keep the song going, we did too. His eyes lightened then and he smiled and the music grew stronger still.


LIVE VIDEO


Fionn Regan is a Lost Highway recording artist.

Fionn Regan
official / myspace / wikipedia

4 comments:

Charbarred said...

It's interesting. I saw him about a year ago (opening for Midlake) in a very large venue. We tried to enjoy the gig but he didn't manage to project himself in such a big club. I've been meaning to catch a more intimate gig of his since it did look like he has more potential. (that and the fact that he'd probably gotten much better with a year of touring under his belt).

Anonymous said...

this guy has it going on. So talented and smart too. i just stumbled upon an interview he did for the new issue of ragged at www.raggedmag.com. He just riffs a little bit about his views on different aspects of being a musician. Smart and talented, the only place he can go is up.

Ryan of the RSL blog said...

Thanks for tip about piece in Ragged. Wonderful!

RSL Readers:

Check this out (pdf):

Be Good or Be Good - Fionn Regan in Ragged

Anonymous said...

he's brilliant. just brilliant. many words can describe fionn regan but brilliant wraps the music part of him up. He has that focus that all stars have.