The struggle to cling on to the things that make us who we are while shedding the baggage that holds us back from what we might become is a recurring theme throughout Fires of Innocence, the new Alt- Country Rock long player from Eoin Glackin.
Born and raised in Dublin, Eoin was a curious kid into music and sci-fi but being the youngest of 3 brothers he found himself following their lead.
“My brothers were big into sports, Football and Rugby, so that’s where I tried to go. I spent every waking minute watching, playing matches and training and wasn’t half bad as the years went on”.
Eoin began suffering knee problems around the age of 14/15 which is when music began to receive more of his attention:
“I was always into music and played a little piano as a kid, but that was the time I picked up a guitar and started writing. I wrote my first ‘proper song’ with the first two chords I knew. I was eager to do my own thing”.
The result of “his own thing” was years of touring, opening for acts like Joan Armatrading, Damien Dempsey and The Darkness, leading to him scoring a major label release for his debut album “Not Lost”.
“That was a real buzz and a very educational time. I was sure to take it all in and learn what I could, good or bad”, he reflects.
When it came to working on new offering, Fires of Innocence, Eoin enlisted the help of legendary Irish producer, Karl Odlum. Among many other modern classics, Karl produced Mic Christopher’s Skylarkin’ album (containing the anthem, “Heyday”).
“I can’t think of an album that has meant as much to me as that, so getting to even hang out with Karl and chat was a thrill, let alone making a record together”, Glackin enthuses.
Stylistically part classic country and part rock opera, drawing on varied influences like Johnny Cash and Meatloaf, the album was both written and produced in stages over the course of a year, a new approach for Eoin,
“I’ve always just booked a block of studio time, gone in and recorded and whatever was there when we ran out of studio time was it. With Karl we would do a session, leave it, live with it, maybe rework something, come back and do it again if we needed to. It was all very natural and organic with no restrictions on time. When it felt right, it was right. There is a whole heap of new songs recorded that got left off this time around too”.
Although country music doesn’t seem a natural fit for a Dublin city kid, Eoin was reared on it. In fact one of Irish country music’s biggest sensations, Derek Ryan and him have been close writing partners for years.
The rock sensibilities of some of Glackin’s earlier releases are still also very much evident, with driving guitars and anthemic chorus’s a staple of the album. Look no further than “Way About You” for a good old rock and roll sing-song .
The themes and stories of Fires of Innocence, have their place in the personal and the political. The correlation between the tumultuous political landscape of the west and the personal searching of a young man trying to find his place in his own world are undeniable. Songs like “High King Falls”, “Barabbas Walks Free” and “Fresh AF” are head on challenges to the societal structures we accept every day; Who are the good guys? Who are the bad? What happens when the lines between the hard left and hard right blur? What does it mean when everyone is “safe” but nobody has a choice?
Songs like “Wear It While You Can”, “Eva” and “Hold the Line” are the personal answers to these worries. As Eoin sings in “Eva”:
“They’ve got some nerve/ to say you don’t deserve/ to do with yourself as you please”,
there is an understanding that we must do all we can to be ourselves, not another number in someone else’s agenda.
While “Pity the Poor Comedian”, the tale of an up-and-coming comic dealing with the aftermath of a “bad joke” is a commentary on the state of free speech:
“How did it ever come to this? The left eats itself while the right licks its lips”.
The albums epic closer “Don’t Want to Go Home Yet”, is the perfect culmination of all the stories and themes (musical and literal), we have encountered over the previous 40 or so minutes. The bars have shut, curfew is in place, the world is closing in but still our protagonists yearn to stand their ground and keep the party going a little longer, on their own terms:
“There’s choppers glistening in the night sky / like tears upon a bruised eye / curfew might be set / but I just don’t want to go home yet”
And that’s what Fires of Innocence is all about, realising that nothing is forever and living on our own terms while we have the fleeting chance to do so.
“Smashing it” – Ed Sheeran
“Eoin’s lyrical imagery make me feel like I’m watching a movie in my mind” – Damien Dempsey
“His songs make an instant connection” – The Independent
“A genuine talent” – Dan Hawkins (The Darkness)
“Some of the best lyrics almost any listener will have heard” – Fatea Magazine