Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy is one of those artists you discover and feel proud to have found before they blew up. His earnest and heartbreakingly raspy voice, paired with his bleeding from the heart lyrics, makes him a perfect artist to listen to on a rainy day when you’re feeling the feels. I love all of his music, but am going to share my top three Dermot Kennedy picks to provide a starting line for new listeners.
1. “After Rain”
This haunting acoustic guitar-based track, recounting memories of a past lover, is the song that essentially broke Kennedy in the U.S. after appearing on an acoustic Spotify playlist. This is also the first song that I listened to by Kennedy, and the song that drew me in. The song starts quiet, so quiet that the first time I listened I wasn’t sure if music was actually playing. The initial quiet serves because the song builds gradually over the course of its nearly five-minute duration to a chilling crescendo of guitar, drums, and strings.
2. “A closeness”
This is the first song off of Kennedy’s EP Doves & Ravens that I heard that implemented more dynamic electronic influences. The standard driving guitar riff, in the beginning, might fool you into thinking it’s another one of his melancholy acoustic love ballads, but after the first chorus a slight drop happens bringing the electronic sounds into the mix.
This song, also off the Doves and Ravens EP, follows the lead of “A closeness,” by continuing to implement electronic production elements. The song seems to tell the story of a man who gave up on a relationship and forgets about it until a piece of memorabilia from the relationship, draws the forgotten feelings up again.
The things that draw me to Kennedy’s music are consistent throughout his discography. Though his poetically-narrative writing style is worth mentioning, his voice is the most noteworthy element of his music. It cuts through the music with its heart-wrenchingly emotive quality much like Ben Howard and Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers. Kennedy also knows how to write meaningful yet catchy sounding songs, many of his songs start off with a simple guitar riff that intrigues the ear and makes you want to stick around to hear the rest. There is just something so honest about his music that is super refreshing, and after his appearance at this year’s SXSW it seems like rest of the world is catching onto what a talent he is. So next time you’re having a chill night, cuddled up in bed enjoying a good book, throw Dermot Kennedy on. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
You can listen to more of Dermot’s Music here.