The Wonders of Damien Rice

19 Aug

The last several interviews/research I’ve done with local bands, I’ve noticed a pattern.

Scott Chism and the Better Half, Justin Posey and Redemption Loves Company are just a few local artists who have proclaimed their love for Damien Rice.

Even though it seems like his popularity is growing, I still think a lot of people haven’t heard of Rice’s music.

Click “Keep Reading” to be introduced to this Irish singer-songwriter.

Chances are you know “The Blower’s Daughter.”

Damien Rice’s song, off his debut, “O,” was used in the Julia Roberts movie “Closer,” and it’s still one of his most popular songs to date. But dig a little bit deeper and you’ll find a wealth of beautiful music.

Damien Rice’s style is acoustic folk-pop, heavy on the acoustic guitar. And, unlike a lot of the bland “music” that fills today’s airwaves, his music is full of emotion. He’s not afraid to write about the most painful experiences or to get dirty while describing a couple’s failed relationship. Life happens, and Rice sings about it. There’s almost no way to listen to his music and not feel what he’s feeling.

His debut, “O,” is full of fabulous songs, like “Volcano,” “Cannonball” and “Delicate.” He walks that fine line of being romantic without being too schmaltzy, and he maintains that singer-songwriter in your living room vibe but makes it feel huge when the time calls for it.

His follow-up, “9,” is grittier. The love is gone, there are more instruments used and it’s just a darker album. Not to say it’s depressing, though, but songs like “The Animals Were Gone,” “Rootless Tree” and “9 Crimes” aren’t lighthearted. The power of his music and his voice is mind-blowing.

I thought I loved Damien Rice, but I really fell in love with him after I saw him live in Memphis in 2007. It was such a powerful show. During one of my favorite moments was when he was singing “Accidental Babies,” and he just tore into “When a Man Loves a Woman.” It was the most soulful performance I’ve seen…well, maybe ever.

I just found this video of him performing “Cannonball” in Memphis. He unplugged his guitar and stepped away from his microphone, so this is especially raw.

I suggest you visit Rice’s MySpace page to hear more. You can also catch a glimpse of his current project: he took a 10-day trip to Barcelona with the idea to write 10 songs in 10 days.

Anyway, if you like what you hear, pick up “O” or “9,” or, even better, some of his live performances. Hopefully, digging into Damien Rice may give you an idea about some of the local artists who are influenced by him.

Here’s the video for “The Blower’s Daughter.”

I had no plans to include this until I watched it; it’s Rice performing “Hallelujah.” I thought only Jeff Buckley’s version was perfection, but this is so so close to it, too:

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