Davy Lyons - The Human Factor
Davy Lyons is an Irish songwriter, musician, poet, and actor. Family gatherings in his childhood, where music was always vital, are the root of his creative endeavours. His first dream was to become a professional footballer. Having completed a First-Class Honours Masters degree in law at University College Dublin, Lyons abandoned the gavel for the guitar and began a spiritual journey across Europe that brought him to live and make wine in a Tuscan castle and stay for four months in the mythic Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, which has welcomed wandering writers such as Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, and Anaïs Nin.
Having lived in a camper van called Roger with three bearded artists for three sweaty months, he hitchhiked from Paris to Barcelona and settled finally in the Catalan city known as The Rose of Fire.
There he played on the street, testing new songs and dodging the police. Busking brought him friends, money, and an understanding of how a good song is able to stand on its own, in its purest form, with guitar and voice, or no guitar at all. It was not all pleasant though, while busking he had eggs, water, and once a bag of shite thrown at him from balconies. You can’t please everybody. In Barcelona, Lyons formed a band with some of the finest musicians in the city, and they began playing free folk, completely in the moment, with no song being the same from concert to concert. Their live shows developed a reputation as intense, binding, and unique experiences for the audience, an intimate journey where words and melodies come together, where silences are allowed to reverberate. Sound poems written with the fountain pen of Lyons’ soul with brushstrokes of folk, jazz, and gypsy added by the band. In Angel Sound Studio, they recorded “Evidence”, Lyons’ debut album, produced by Arthur Jeffes, frontman of Penguin Cafe.
The album was released in 2019 with Catalan label Delirics, and was launched with sold-out shows in Barcelona, and in his hometown, Wexford, the sunny south-east of Ireland. Catalan music magazine, Enderrock, said: Evidence is ten songs made for introspective people, those who wish to scratch inside without fear of finding deep sadness or divine beauty. The best of the album is how silence breathes. The following year he began recording demos with Irish producer, David Duffy, in his home studio next to the Hare Krishna temple in Barcelona’s gothic quarter. Those demos form the basis of Lyons’second record, “The Human Factor”, recorded in Vertigo Studios in Llinars del Vallès, and released with Dutch label, King Forward Records. Lyons bonded with label founder, Frank Bond, over an eel sandwich while on tour in the Netherlands. The album represents lyrical and musical growth for an artist who always submits himself to the hammer and anvil of metre and rhyme. Following in his father’s footsteps, Lyons has just finished shooting for a feature-length Catalan-produced movie, where he plays the lead role in a story of friendship and grief. For the release of his first book, he is currently compiling a selection of poetry and prose sent over the last four years as part of the newsletters delivered every Sunday for his Patreon. He is influenced by artists such as Jacques Brel, Francis Bacon, Nina Simone, John McGahern, Mick Mulcahy, Kae Tempest, and The Pecker Dunne.
There is something beneath the surface of the title track that makes a compassionate listener feel uneasy. Is it because of the realization people can be good but also have a dark side? The sonic wave in the chorus is pretty intense.
The line " may you face the rising sun" in "Quiet in the morning" strongly reminds us of Dylan's Forever Young.
One to One is, as the title suggests, an intimate serenade to a loved one. A Davy Lyons classic in many ways, the storytelling, the delivery.
There's a Duke Special -esque feel in Threads.
Lyons encourages us along the way not to forget our heroes who inspire us on our way and that we gotta work hard for our goals. The songs contain inner warmth, as if they were projecting where they were born.
The soft, almost spoken word delivery is mesmerzing, personal and adds an extra layer of intimacy to the songs, making the listener drop everything and focus on every word.
Glorious almost breaks your heart. It's the combination of piano and strings that really get you. Lyons' vocal is gentle, trying to project all the beauty a new morning. Don't be surprised if there's something in your eye at the end.
Clay, a passionate album closure, shows Lyons' skills as a poet. And what a fitting line to end this collection of songs with "dear friends, thank you for your time"
Davy Lyons is launching the new album with the full band in his hometown of Wexford on March 4th. Get your tickets here