10 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With its gentle swell of cello, tiptoeing piano, and bittersweet melody, “Joy of Nothing” is a contender for the kind of indie-folk song that puts an unknown artist right over the top (much in the way Bon Iver beamed into the spotlight from his cabin in the woods with “Skinny Love”). But Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance will have none of that easy pigeonholing: the opening track here, “Closed Hand, Full of Friends,” is like a galloping David Gray–meets–Josh Ritter tune, racing on pounding toms and nervous strings. And the anthemic “At Least My Heart Was Open” beautifully blends that commercial sensibility with Vance’s handlebar-mustachioed indie troubadour persona. Vance’s first LP, 2007's Hope, was rich with soul and blues influences, but Joy of Nothing heads in a more country-folk direction. “You and I” is a gorgeous lament, accented with brushed snares, warm organ notes, and Bonnie Raitt’s vocals on the chorus; “It Was Good” hints again at the indie-folkster ready to bloom. Vance ends the album with friend Ed Sheeran on the lovely, introspective “Guiding Light.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

With its gentle swell of cello, tiptoeing piano, and bittersweet melody, “Joy of Nothing” is a contender for the kind of indie-folk song that puts an unknown artist right over the top (much in the way Bon Iver beamed into the spotlight from his cabin in the woods with “Skinny Love”). But Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance will have none of that easy pigeonholing: the opening track here, “Closed Hand, Full of Friends,” is like a galloping David Gray–meets–Josh Ritter tune, racing on pounding toms and nervous strings. And the anthemic “At Least My Heart Was Open” beautifully blends that commercial sensibility with Vance’s handlebar-mustachioed indie troubadour persona. Vance’s first LP, 2007's Hope, was rich with soul and blues influences, but Joy of Nothing heads in a more country-folk direction. “You and I” is a gorgeous lament, accented with brushed snares, warm organ notes, and Bonnie Raitt’s vocals on the chorus; “It Was Good” hints again at the indie-folkster ready to bloom. Vance ends the album with friend Ed Sheeran on the lovely, introspective “Guiding Light.”

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