Beyond The Music with Laura: Foy Vance
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Foy Vance and discuss the current North American Tour promoting his newest album, The Wild Swan along with the upcoming show in Louisville, Kentucky at Headliners Music Hall on October 15th, 2016. While we talked about a few of his songs on this new album, including what inspired the writing behind them, we also had a couple of good laughs. By the end of the interview, I had an "I.O.U." to make good on, by way of buying him a beer. Anyone who knows an Irishman knows that you always pay a beer debt.
It was exciting, as both a fan and a journalist, to attend this show. Vance’s stage set-up was unique, from the moment you entered the venue as it included lamps and carpeting on the stage, which made those in attendance feel as if you were taking a seat in his living room, having a drink, and waiting for him to just sit down and play a few songs with friends.
That is exactly what Vance did. He came out, warning the crowd up front, that the past two nights the shows were crazy and he and the band had consumed their fair share of alcohol, yet he guaranteed that they would “give every bit of what we have” to this performance. Honestly, I cannot remember a show, where an artist began with a prelude of “we will do our best”. The difference here is, that even when Vance doubted that he would be able to give a perfect performance, the crowd supported him in a way that allowed him to release any worry he may have had.
Vance was sitting at the piano and kicked the night off with, “Bangor Town”, a track from the new album, which definitely set the mood for the rest of the evening. The gravel in his voice and tender lyrics and delivery had a powerful effect on the entire room. You could have heard a pin drop as he sang and drew us all in. If this was “less than perfection” no one in that room knew it and no one could feel it.
Vance continued with songs from both the new and older albums, with the audience singing all of them, right along with him. This performance included a very special rendition of “Guiding Light”, which Vance began singing and the audience took over. Vance also surprised us all by announcing subtlety in his song lyrics, that he and his wife are expecting a new addition to their family with a due date of March 2, 2017. There was an indescribable feeling of unity in that room, between artist and audience, that is rarely felt during live events these days.
The audience was filled with people from Louisville and beyond. Several people drove two and three hours for this show because they wanted to have the experience of being at one of Vance’s shows and this was their only opportunity to catch him on his North American leg. Vance himself said to the audience, “if I’m being completely honest, after last night in Nashville being a great, great show and the night before being just as great, we were discussing the fact that we felt this stop can’t top those. Let me tell you, Louisville, my brothers and sisters, you have amazed us and we feel your energy and it energizes us and it does not go unnoticed, the love you have shown us.”
The show went over an hour from what was to be the last song of the evening. As he continued to play, sing and genuinely give us all he had to give, he left the audience walking away completely satisfied and looking forward to the next opportunity to see Vance at a live performance.
Be sure to check out the remaining dates of The Wild Swan tour and even if you have to drive a few hours for that show, the experience, the memories and the feeling you leave with, are definitely worth the drive.
One final note, the "I.O.U." was paid with a local craft beer, delivered to Vance on stage.