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Conchúr White Shares New Single “Rivers” – Taken From Debut Album “Swirling Violets” out 19th January via Bella Union

October 24, 2023
photo credit: Nathan Magee

Conchúr White Shares New Single “Rivers”

Taken From Debut Album “Swirling Violets” out 19th January via Bella Union

Conchúr White last month announced the release of his debut album Swirling Violets, out 19th January via Bella Union, and shared lead single “I Did Good Today”. Soon to embark on a November European tour supporting The Magnetic Fields, now Conchúr White shares a second preview of the album via the wistful beauty of his new single “Rivers.” Watch the lyric video HERE.

Commenting on the track Conchúr – pronounced Conor – says: “Rivers was recorded in a cottage outside Pomeroy in Tyrone. I went away for a few days to demo tracks for the album, one of which was Rivers. I’d always intended to re-record it but never did as I came to like the idea of having something on the album that I’d made by myself; my recording of my vocals and acoustic guitar. I committed to all the effects and sounds pre-recording as I didn’t want to spend a lot of time mixing demos, so everything you hear on the song was as I heard it. I added a few harmonies and manipulated my vocal to try and emulate an uilleann pipe in the bridge section, but aside from that it’s basically a live recording. I’ve always liked the music of Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell, and it’s without doubt the most folk-inspired and folk-sounding song on the album.”

Conchúr White dazzled the moment he burst onto the scene, White’s immense songwriting abilities and captivating vocal harmonies solidify this musician as one of the most essential right now. Once you’ve immersed yourselves in the moving compositions carefully created, you embrace life with this songwriting penning such vital arrangements to accompany life, to challenge moments, to revisit emotions.

The beauty of this release resonates from the guitar notes, the strings intricately picked, and the reverb sweeping into the soundscape. The delicate harmonies and the intimate, raw lyrics just lift the importance of the expressive touch that Conchúr provides. A powerful release that drums up this stirring sensation from the gentle rhythm that evolves to reflect this commanding energy.

When the last of the guitar notes end and the vocal tones soften to finish, you hear the hiss of the organic soundscape coming to a close, you long to be part of this crucial world once more. This track could easily be placed on a vital scene in a film, a soundtrack that can be used to emphasise so many experiences.

“I like surreal settings, but with tangible messages,” says White. A singer-songwriter from County Armagh, White navigates the dreamlike and the grounded with blissful fluency on his beautifully lambent debut album. Released through Bella Union in January, Swirling Violets is allusive and intimate, unearthly yet instantly accessible: touching on fully felt themes with grace and lightness, it’s a richly imagined album of multitudes from an instinctive talent.

As White explains it, “There wasn’t a conscious theme, though the songs operate in the same sort of space, that sense of surrealism. There’s ghosts, there’s other worlds. There’s a cosmic feeling, questions about the beginning and the end and dreams. And then there’s simpler songs, love songs about the feelings of infatuation you have when you’re young”

Opener ‘The Holy Death’ is exemplary, White setting folk-ish reflections on mortality to an elegant melody within a chiming arrangement that shifts effortlessly to a more maniacal mode for the climax.

The hymnal ‘Righteous’ swerves sideways into tender introspection, setting a reflection on religion and the longing for vindication to an airy melody. ‘501s’ is a different ballgame, a dream-pop reflection on teenage infatuation played with an impressionistic lyricism; White evokes the tastes and textures of lived-in youthful experience at a stroke. The dappled folk of ‘Rivers’ dives deep into themes of compulsion, and how others try to accommodate the afflicted and addicted.

Elsewhere, White ranges deftly from lost-love songs (‘Fawn’) to tales of tragic romance (‘The Woman in the War’). The title track is a melting beauty, drawing you deep inside its “parallel world” of longing. Wherever you listen, these are songs with stories to tell and sublime ways of telling them: “There’s not one track on the album that doesn’t mean something to me,” says White.

A music graduate who has also worked alongside young people with mental health issues, White’s story began in bands. He played in atmospheric indie-rockers Silences before their split allowed Conchúr to develop his solo voice at his own pace. That sense of freedom colours Conchúr’s music. On the Bikini Crops and Dreamers EPs, he filtered the influences of acts such as Arctic Monkeys (recent vintage) and Father John Misty into songs at once playful, referential and experiential. The moonlit plea of this year’s ‘Atonia’, a cathartic reverie on sleep paralysis, showed White’s melodic and lyrical talents blossoming.

With praise from SPIN, The Line of Best Fit, Under the Radar, Steve Lamacq, Radio 6 and others under his belt, he has also notched up touring slots with Villagers, Billie Marten and John Grant, who complemented White’s work warmly. Meanwhile, a recent invitation to support the mighty John Cale in concert lead to more compliments from Cale’s storied bandmembers.

Collaborators on Swirling Violets include Matt Wiggins, who mixed the album; producers Kris Platt and Danny Morgan Ball; and co-writer/producer Iain Archer (‘Swirling Violets’). Finally, Brendan Jenkinson produced the closer, ‘Deadwood’, a serene drift through the “mystic night” under the “summer’s moonlight”. An irresistible invitation to float along with White, Swirling Violets is a magic-realist wonder from a new name to reckon with, bathed in a radiant glow.

Conchúr White UK + European live dates:

28th October – AMSTERDAM – London Calling Festival

29ht October – HALDERN – Haldern Pop Bar

2nd November – BRIGHTON – Mutations Festival

4th November – BARCELONA – Sala Apolo (with The Magnetic Fields)

5th November – ZARAGOZA – Sala Oasis (with The Magnetic Fields)

6th November – MADRID – La Paqui (with The Magnetic Fields)

8th November – DUBLIN – Liberty Hall (with Gemma Hayes)

13th November – BRUSSELS – Orangerie (with The Magnetic Fields)

15th November – OSLO – Rockefeller (with The Magnetic Fields)

16th November – GOTHENBURG – Pustervik (with The Magnetic Fields)

17th November – STOCKHOLM – Nalen (with The Magnetic Fields)

19th November – HELSINKI – Tavastia (with The Magnetic Fields)

20th November – BRIGHTON – The Old Market (with Aqualung)

21st November – LONDON – Islington Academy (with Aqualung)

23rd November – BRISTOL – Trinity (with Aqualung)

2nd / 3rd December – DINGLE – Other Voices Festival

1. The Holy Death

2. Righteous (Why Did I Feel Like That?)

3. 501s

4. Rivers

5. I Did Good Today

6. Swirling Violets

7. Red House Parlour

8. Before Ten

9. Fawn

10. The Woman In The War

11. Deadwood


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