From his debut album, Since Kyabram (2004), Ireland’s Declan O’Rourke has been praised by songwriting giants such as John Prine (“a great songwriter”) and Paul Weller (“he writes the sort of classic songs that people don’t write anymore”). His work, meanwhile, has been covered by world-class artists such as Christy Moore, Camille O’Sullivan, Eddi Reader, and Josh Groban.
O’Rourke has released seven acclaimed albums, an expressive body of work (“proferring reassurance in the face of inevitable sorrow” - New York Times’ music writer, Jon Pareles) that catches the light in many ways. His latest (seventh) album, Arrivals, is assuredly his most distinctive yet.
Released in April 2021, produced by Paul Weller, Arrivals features emotionally potent songs that summon the atmosphere of some of the great folk records that influenced the developing artist and musician as a younger, aspiring writer, (Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon, and Nic Jones Penguin Eggs, to name but two).
Emerging at a time when the world is in a phase of serious flux, Arrivals is more present than past, however, and is also his most humanitarian. “We all feel very strongly about various aspects of what is happening in the world right now. I feel like I’ve intermittently struggled to engage with what’s contemporary in my writing. But these times are so engaging, and compelling, that I’ve been pulled into the present.”