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Fionn For The Road
Recorded in Anna Friel’s Spanish villa – it’s a long story! – Fionn Regan’s 100 Acres Of Sycamore could just be the album that gives him the international breakthrough he so richly deserves. Marathon US tours, ‘60s recording values and artistry are all on the agenda as he meets Craig Fitzpatrick.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 25 Aug 2011
The thing about songs is that it’s always very hard for me...” Fionn Regan pauses, drinking in one of those long, considered silences he so adores. “I mean, I can articulate myself completely within the walls of a song. I get transported when I’m inside a song. When I play shows sometimes I come out the other end and feel like I’ve been somewhere else. And sometimes that keeps you up for two days.”
This just might be a summer of sleepless nights. What Regan’s getting at is the difficulty in communicating what his work is about. He’s being hard on his conversational skills, of course – anyone familiar with Bray’s finest troubadour will know him to be a fine wordsmith outside, as well as inside, of his songs. He lives language. And yet, he seldom says anything too concrete. Much better to deal in metaphors.
“With this tour of Ireland, we’ve gone off the beaten track. We started in Wexford and went to places like the Seamus Ennis Centre, Sligo, Lahinch... going to bars after the show and hearing traditional music and people singing. It’s been a window into the heart of Ireland.”
Over the course of our conversation, references to ‘mirrors’ and ‘windows’ reoccur, as does the importance he places on the idea of ‘The Artist’. In the liner notes of the Decade compilation, Neil Young wrote about not compromising his artistic vision following the success of ‘Heart Of Gold’. “A rougher ride”, Young wrote, “but I saw more interesting people there.” You figure a young Fionn was reading along intently. Three albums deep, Regan sees his career-to-date as a learning process, one that has wholly benefited his accomplished new release 100 Acres Of Sycamore. He also has a habit of drawing on his lyrics to fill temporary gaps in his recollections. Perhaps he’d rather sing all of his conversations.
“Every step of your journey,” he reflects. “If you’re open to it and you’re resonating on a good frequency, you can learn the whole way along.”