Irish rock veteran gets his folk groove on
The frontman for The Racketeers since the ‘90s and a solo singer in his own right, Eamonn Dowd is one of the true survivors of Irish rock. With his new album, Dowd goes in for a classic folk and country style (as well as a blistering cover of Nikki Sudden’s ‘Death Is Hanging Over Me’), as he casts a measured eye backwards.
The past, as Dowd makes clear in this album, is a place that can be pined for, sung about, but which can never truly be recaptured.
In ‘Luxembourg’, Dowd gives the eponymous old radio station the same kind of reverential eulogising that was once bestowed upon it by Van Morrison. Throughout the album, the folksy balladry harkens back to the ’60s and ’70s, and the type of music Dowd grew up listening to.
To be fair to the singer, rather than giving in to mawkish sentimentality, his songs are very thoughtful. In ‘Let’s Just Pretend’ he sings: “Don’t talk about the bad times, talk about the fun we had/ Don’t talk about TV, it drives me mad/ Let’s talk about rock’n’roll.” The implication is that Dowd is aware that it might all be ‘pretence’, but at the end of the day he’d rather focus on the positivity of music than on the negativity of the outside world.
It’s a levelling thought. As the title suggests, the singer may be digging a nostalgic space for himself, but he’s fundamentally aware that looking into the past is also the act of looking into ‘nowhere’.