SXSW 2008 has ended
Saturday, March 15 • 12:00am - 12:30am
Foy Vance

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Usual tags such as ‘singer-songwriter’, ‘folk-soul’, ‘troubadour’ are perceived with a considerable amount of cynicism these days, especially since the music scene has been saturated with middle of the road artists, marketed as such by traditional record label formulae. Someone with a discerning ear and trust in their own taste should be able to spot who’s the real deal and who’s not. Leaving tags aside, Foy Vance operates in his own parallel universe. His music is an evolving journey, a constant search for artistic expression captured in the moment, operating well away from industry standards. Surely you’ll hear echoes of Otis Redding, Richie Havens, Tom Waits and Van Morrison in Foy’s music, legends he’s already being compared to and definite influences. An ever so modest Foy will laugh at these comparisons, but then again that’s what makes him so special. With his distinctive, cracked, soulful voice and a skill to write profound storytelling songs, Foy Vance belongs to a calibre of artists that stand the test of time, irrespective of trends or fads, delivering heartfelt songs about the human condition that everyone can relate to. Foy Vance arrived into the public consciousness in the summer of '05 with the release of his widely acclaimed debut EP 'Live Sessions and the Birth Of The Toilet Tour'. A series of gigs that saw him support such diverse artists as KT Tunstall, Pete Townshend, Joss Stone, The Spinto Band, Tegan & Sara and Taj Mahal, led to two sell out nights at Ronnie Scott's, and these confirmed Foy's status as an outstanding emerging talent. These shows amassed a dedicated fanbase and gained the Bangor born Foy support and admiration from his peers, including nine times Grammy Award winning Bonnie Raitt, who invited him to support her as ‘special guest’ on her 21 date UK/European tour in April '06 An overwhelming response from US and Canadian audiences, due to the airing of two of Foy's songs ('Homebird' and 'Gabriel And The Vagabond') on the cult networked TV drama series Grey's Anatomy and a showcase at SXSW, led to a huge demand for the release of 'Gabriel And The Vagabond' in the US, and the inclusion of 'Homebird' on the Grey's Anatomy 2 Original Soundtrack album. In June 2006 Foy released a second limited edition EP 'Watermelon Oranges', which was supported by various live dates including Wireless, Oxegen, gigs with Dave Matthews, and an appearance with Pete Townshend and Martha Wainwright at Joe's Pub in New York as part of Pete and Rachel Fuller's ‘In The Attic’ sessions. Now ‘Homebird’, from one of those sessions, is one of the tracks on the ‘Attic Jam’ compilation album released in February '07 as an exclusive itunes download featuring The Magic Numbers, Razorlight, Fratellis, Zutons and Flaming Lips amongst many others. December 2006 saw Foy's 'Indiscriminate Act Of Kindness' being chosen as the sound-bed to the Great Ormond Street Hospital TV commercial for their Christmas appeal and Foy headlining a string of UK dates. Having spent the first half of 2007 recording his debut album in a cottage on the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland, Foy re-emerged in May for a jaw-dropping performance accompanied by Ulster’s 70-piece Symphony Orchestra at BBC’s Orchestral Manouevres sell-out concert in Belfast which also featured Duke Special. Foy’s debut album ‘Hope’ was released in August 2007 to wide critical acclaim. The album was written, performed, recorded, produced and mixed by Foy himself. Tchad Blake who is best known for his work with Pearl Jam, Tom Waits and Elvis Costello has also contributed to the mixing of some tracks. ‘Hope’ musically flows like a live session and it brings out Foy’s soul, blues, gospel and jazz influences soaked up while growing up in Oklahoma but also from spending time in Alabama and New Orleans with his preacher father who played an intrinsic part in the way Foy observes the world. Lyrically, Foy has an amazing talent for telling great stories in a song, as is so poignantly demonstrated in ‘Indiscriminate Act of Kindness’ and ‘Gabriel and the Vagabond’. The album has many highlights including the southern-fried funk of album opener ‘Be with Me’, the Led Zeppelin meets Donna Summer groove of ‘Hope, Peace & Love’ and the rhythm & blues of ‘Shed a little light’. Heartfelt songs such as ‘Treading Water’, ‘I Was Made’ and ‘First of July’ complete an eclectic package of beautifully crafted songs. The media coverage that followed included the Belfast Telegraph naming Foy ‘the most important solo musician to emerge from Northern Ireland since Van Morrison’ in addition to glowing reviews from publications as diverse as Uncut, Maverick, The Sunday Times, The Sun, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail among many others. Forthcoming activity includes a tour of Ireland and the UK throughout February 2008 before flying out to the US in March where he’ll be performing at The Craic Music & Film Festival in NYC, then heading down to play a show in Nashville en route to SXSW. April 2008 see the release of two new tracks – both re-working of tracks from ‘Hope’. A complete re-recording of ‘Be With Me’ – produced by The Free Association a.k.a. David Holmes, along with a re-worked version of ‘Shed A Little Light’ – produced by Future Cut (Lily Allen, Dizzy Rascal etc). Early Background Foy Best Vance was born in 1974 in Bangor Co-Down in Ireland. However before Foy was even a year old, his preacher-man father along with his mother and three elder brothers had packed up their belongings and caught the boat to America, the land of the free. Relocating to Oklahoma, Mr Preacher-man preached the length and breadth of the vast country with family in tow. It was in the black churches of the South that young Foy soaked up the deep riches of the southern roots and started to sing. Music was Foy’s only outlet and it didn’t take long for his folks to notice that their boy had a special gift. That’s when the preacher-man taught him how to play the 12 bar blues, a moment which proved to be a milestone for Foy. ‘I was brought up hearing all manner of music and poetry. My father loved literature and music and would often initiate a sing-song when the family were together, but what stood out more to me were the times you would find him alone in a room singing and playing guitar. Eyes closed and feeling it, this was something different. He sang different. It sounded different’. Foy always knew that he wanted to sing and write music – after the family moved back to Ireland 6-7 years later and living on a working-men’s estate in Bangor, his only exposure to music was artists on TV and radio. ‘They all seemed so other-worldly that I assumed that they were born into the life they led, which when translated, meant there was no hope for me’. So he carried on playing and singing in private for his own pleasure - It was perhaps this that has led to Foy’s ability to perform as if for an audience of one, regardless of the reality. Foy cut his teeth gigging all over Ireland and Scotland with a band which didn’t prove enough to satisfy his musical aspirations. It was around this time that he took a renewed interest in his father’s acoustic although the soul flavours have never left him. Upon meeting his muse in the form of an aspiring Belfast artist, Joanne Shaw (now Joanne Vance), he began to immerse himself in his art form – he discovered the beauty and importance of song; ‘Songwriting for me is an organic free-flowing experience. Rather than having a preconceived plan for putting a song together I try to open up and let things flow naturally’. Foy also explored possibilities of not only writing but exhibiting his work which he did extensively in various outfits. Most notably in a band called ‘Columbo’ who stole the show at ‘Belfest’ (annual Belfast festival) and then split up! Foy was again a nomad, seeking the next venture. As nothing happens by accident in Foy’s world it was around this time that he was offered a regular slot at a bar in Lanzarote, Canary Islands after a member of th

Saturday March 15, 2008 12:00am - 12:30am
Buffalo Billiards 201 E 6th St

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