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Fionn Regan 100 Acres To Sycamore (2011)

                    Fionn Regan - 100 Acres To Sycamore
Birth name: Fionn Regan
Born: Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland 1981
Genres: Folk contemporary folk, "new" folk, folk rock
Occupations: Singer-songwriter
Instruments: Vocals, Guitar, harmonica, Piano, Perc
Location: Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland 
Record Label: Heavenly Recordings/Cooperative Music
Album release: August 16, 2011
Website: http://www.fionnregan.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fionnregan

01.) 100 Acres Of Sycamore   5:35
02.) Sow Mare Bitch Vixen   3:46
03.) The Horses Are Asleep   4:39
04.) The Lake District   5:37
05.) Dogwood Blossom   3:25
06.) For A Nightengale   3:44
07.) List Of Distractions   3:32
08.) 1st Day Of May   2:27
09.) North Star Lover   5:20
10.) Woodberry Cemetery   1:44
11.) Vodka Sorrow   6:04
12.) Golden Light   1:35
13.) Cut My Teeth   6:15
A satisfying third set from the Irish singer which leaves a warm feeling in the soul.Mike Diver 2011-08-16You could be forgiven for missing Fionn Regan’s third long-player in the release schedules. Unlike his previous set, 2010’s The Shadow of an Empire, this arrives with relatively little fanfare, a result of the Bray-born singer’s retreat from the mainstream five years on from his Mercury-nominated debut, The End of History. Said disc was an understated delight, but its follow-up favoured amplification over introspection, and its troubled gestation produced an underwhelming collection. But 100 Acres of Sycamore finds Regan returning to the acoustic prettiness of his first album, embellishments restricted to gently swelling strings rather than distracting bombast.
Regan’s focus has shifted – where he previously looked out onto the world from a lofty position in the indie-folk world, today he’s back in the margins that once held him so dearly. And he’s comfortable here, operating at a commercial level below that of fellow Mercury nominee (and Brit-winner) Laura Marling, and thus able to write without the pressure that those in the spotlight have to endure. 100 Acres of Sycamore is an unhurried set that makes its point lightly, without bluster. Recorded overseas, in a Spanish villa owned by the actress Anna Friel, it’s full of a wistfulness that perhaps wouldn’t have manifested had this been produced in more familiar surroundings. The speed of its capture – straight to tape in just seven days – results in a freshness that evokes Regan’s fine EPs for the Anvil label, Reservoir and Hotel Room. This is the sound of an artist returning to his roots in the right way – for personal gratification rather than commercial gain.
Such is the intimacy throughout this album – though the strings are full, they never overpower the simple set-up of reflective lyrics and strummed guitar – that one feels a direct connection with the artist, on an individual-to-individual level. Regan was singing for himself, honest and sincere, when recording these tracks; and with his voice in a pair of headphones, the listener is transported to the Majorcan residence the Irishman found so conducive to crafting album three. It’s a fine body of work, the kind of album that doesn’t benefit from having highlights lifted from it. True, there are songs that beguile with the sort of laidback beauty that so few indie-folk performers are capable of producing – 1st Day of May, lead single For a Nightingale, the echo-soaked (and over-too-soon) closer Golden Light (imagine Bradford Cox going country) – but this is a collection best heard as the artist intended: in the order presented, without compromise. That warmth you’re feeling come its close, try to hold onto it. It’s a contentment few albums leave you with. 

Review of 100 Acres of Sycamore

Fionn Regan was nominated for the 2008 Shortlist Prize, the U.S. equivalent of the Mercury Prize.

Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan released his new album, 100 Acres Of Sycamore on August 16th through Heavenly Recordings/Cooperative Music, with the physical release to follow in early 2012. The album is the follow-up to last year’s The Shadow Of An Empire.
The album is not just one of the year’s most beautiful and incisive albums, it’s also the young singer-songwriter’s most personal statement yet. “My previous record, The Shadow Of An Empire, was me looking out of a window at the world,” he says. “With this one, it’s a clear look in.” And there’s plenty to see. It’s a tale of “mad, wild love – there’s a central, epic love story, that spans time - it’s the story of a couple dancing between the gutter and the chandelier.”
Self-made for little-to-no money, Regan’s debut The End Of History (2006) launched him to an international audience, earning a Mercury Music Prize nomination and gathering a string of big-name fans, from Lucinda Williams to Rhys Ifans, who has a tattoo of Regan’s lyrics. His second album, The Shadow Of An Empire, seemed to be a bit of self-sabotage. The young Irishman, having been hailed as “Folks’ new Pied Piper” went electric, with an album that, while critically acclaimed, confused some of his fans who were searching for something to sooth the soul. “Looking at it now, I think I wanted to kick up some dust…” But The Shadow Of An Empire was a necessary step. “If my last record was a chrysalis,” says Fionn, “100 Acres Of Sycamore is the butterfly.”
The butterfly began to emerge when Regan returned from touring, in a wilderness period that saw him travel on a pilgrimage of sorts to Deia, Majorca. A chance meeting with actress Anna Friel in Valencia, and a conversation about Robert Graves’ book The White Goddess, led Anna to invite Fionn to stay at her home in the ancient village, and most of the album was written there “being in Deia was like waking up inside the walls of a dream, as a place it had a profound effect on me” he says “the silver deposits in the mountains give them a luminous glow in the moonlight, I stayed up for days on end” says Regan. “I went to the edge in my head to a certain extent, and I documented it. These songs are essentially the wings which stopped me from falling to the rocks at that time.”
When it was time to record, he stuck by his belief of capturing things quickly and honestly. The album was recorded in seven days, straight to tape (with the same Calrec console The White Stripes recorded Elephant on) live, with all the players right there in the barn, honey-dripped strings and all. “The thing for me is to do things quick and to keep things simple, and you get left alone, all three albums have been made that way” says Regan, who, having once been hung out to dry by the Lost Highway label, knows a thing or two about the music industry. “If you take the dough, you have to be prepared to make bread”
Recently, he’s beginning to feel something of intangible value: peace. “I played my first show back the other night, just on my own, and it felt really good. This record, I think it’s me making peace with myself.” 100 Acres Of Sycamore is a record you could get lost inside. (Taken from:  http://hangout.altsounds.com/news/133781-fionn-regan-releases-100-acres-sycamore.html)


 Fionn Regan performing on the main stage of the Summer Sundae festival, Leicester, August 13th,  2010 / C: Miching

Fionn Regan

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