The Herring And The Brine

The songs reach deeper every time you listen to a Mumblin’ Deaf Ro album. Teragram and I were at his gig last night in town and it left me grinning from ear to ear. I woke up this morning and the chorus line of drowning man was still ringing deliciously in my ears. How someone can pack so much glorious delight into a single hour is beyond me.

You probably don’t know what I am talking about. There were only fifty seats in the theatre last night and I can honestly say that in this case I took no pleasure from being in the Elect of the god of Music by being included in that small, blesséd number. Mumblin’ Deaf Ro deserves a wide, attentive, awestruck hearing but instead Fallout Boy somehow make a living and serve as aural wallpaper for the vast masses of people buying mope-rock by the shitload. Often Zoomtard has mused on the apparent profundity of that most priveliged of dilemmas- how can we believe in a good God when bad things happen. I’ll only take it seriously from now on if it is written in the following form: How can you believe in a good God when Mumblin’ Deaf Ro languishes in obscurity as songs about umbrellas jump off Apple’s virtual shelves?!

The great thing about Ro’s music is that each song basically operates like a condensed short story set to music. The lyrics are astonishingly good. He turns a phrase as good as anyone and I mean anyone. Ro is in the same league for me as Ben Folds or Aimee Mann when it comes to setting the scene with words. Like both those artists, he is a keen observer of the human character and its flaws but it is a warm observation. While the songs on his new album, The Herring And The Brine are sometimes very dark (Trouble Under A Murder Moon is about two sisters implicated in a killing for example), the huge empathy that he brings to his characters means that it is never an oppressive atmosphere created by the tales.

Maybe the best way to describe Ro’s music is that it is like a great musician has set an unpublished collection of Flannery O’Connor short stories to music. In that song, Trouble Under A Murder Moon, there is a glorious line verse:

And so I brought word to the house
The look on my face broke the news
A sigh at the start
Of a family coming loose

Every single song is filled with a plot that unfolds, characters to get to know and beautiful touching folk music. His first album Senor My Friend is probably my favourite Irish album of all time. This, his second album seems to have the same pull for Neuro and I. Every time we listen to it we get more out of it. Yet each time we see him live I feel an urge to gush online in an effort to spread the joy, since as good as the records are, they fail to capture the sincerity and authenticity of the songs played there in the room.

So consider this the gushing.

Your Correspondent, Weighed and found wanting

One Response to “The Herring And The Brine”

  1. neuro-praxis says:

    Ah Zoomspouse, I agree with everything you have written here. That makes a change!

    Ro Hession is simply an awesome musician. It’s very frustrating that despite his critical acclaim he remains working in the civil service. It’s a bloody crying shame, so it is.