CD Review: Foy Vance – Joy Of Nothing
He’s Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison sewn into the same skin with an Irish soul. If you can listen to his lover’s prayer,“Shed A Little Light” without getting a lump in your throat of a hitch in your getalong, you must be deceased. Paul Thorn gave this singer/songwriter’s career a boost in the states by recording “Shed a Little Light” on Thorn’s last release, ’12’s What the Hell Is Goin’ On, and a recent European tour opening for Bonnie Raitt exposed his talents to a wider audience worldwide. But in his native Ireland and throughout the U.K., Foy Vance is recognized for his prodigious songwriting talent and magnificent voice.
“Shed a Little Light” is a hard act to follow. When Thorn does it in his shows, every female’s face is tear streaked by the first chorus and many of the men in the crowd are swiping at their eyes as well. And When Vance does it-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzREda3WgLA, the audience reacts like the congregation at a holy roller camp meeting, weeping, wailing and speaking in tongues.
His latest, Joy of Nothing, is a bit more subdued. Bonnie Raitt drops in on the Morrission-esque “You And I” doing some family style country harmonizing with Vance on the choruses with a whisper or two of slide slipping through faintly towards the end.
“Closed Hand, Full Of Friends” is the big gun here, the Springsteen-Morrison creature in full cry with a fist-pumping beer stein pounding anthem: “Let’s start over with no means to an end/ just in love and out of hope,/and a closed hand, full of friends.”
Vance bares his bloody, beating pumper for all to witness on “At Least My Heart Was Open,” a U2-like an arena worthy chest thumper: “I tried do it right/ but I fucked it up sometimes,” Vance admits , “but at least my heart was open.”
“Guiding Light” is the closest thing to “Shed a Little Light,” more folky than the churchy tone of “Shed,” but still a perfect companion piece that’ll have everybody in the house weeping copiously in concert, calling out for more beer and more Foy.
Even if there aren’t a lot of fireworks going off on this one, Vance’s mellifluous brogue and poet’s soul are more than enough to get you started on a Foy diet you’ll never want to come off of.