Date: Wednesday, 25th & Thursday (SOLD OUT), 26th January, 2017
*Booking fees apply to telephone and online bookings
James Vincent McMorrow
with special guest Maria Kelly
Cork Opera House is thrilled to welcome back the magnificent James Vincent McMorrow in January 2017. McMorrow brings his new album ‘We Move’ to Cork for the first time following on from 2010’s platinum-selling ‘Early In The Morning’, which also reached number 1 in Ireland, and acclaimed follow-up ‘Post Tropical’ (nominated for the Choice Music Prize, and leading to sold-out worldwide shows spanning two nights at Sydney Opera House to London’s Barbican & Shepherd’s Bush Empire). 2016 has already seen McMorrow surpass 100+ million streams, collaborate with Kygo, and feature in the quickly-viral trailer for the latest series of Game of Thrones, with further album and live plans to follow shortly.
Written in constant transition – and recorded between Toronto, Dublin and London – ‘We Move’ is James Vincent McMorrow’s most expansive, generous and ambitious record to date. There is, on the other hand, something more stripped-back – vulnerable, even – surfacing for the first time: far from the dense, protective imagery at the heart of ‘Post Tropical’, ‘We Move’ is ultimately a record open in its portrait of anxiety and social unease. For McMorrow, it’s about celebrating mental fragility – and how we move forward in life – rather than “people listening to my songs and believing that I’m out in the forest all day long, thinking about trees. Because I’m actually at home, trying to convince myself to go out and get milk.”
The first steps to ‘We Move’ took place in 2014, when James – having been asked to write for different artists’ projects – started sketching out ideas for others on tour (and subsequently stopped over-analysing his own work). Intent on doing the opposite of everything he’d done thus far, McMorrow then came off the road, but kept exploring: first through Barcelona, then Canada, and stopping in Los Angeles for six particularly fish-out-of-water months, where the songs for the album crystallised. He returned to Dublin determined not to just produce another album himself, but to work with people who could articulate the unique world he heard in his head (“I grew up wanting to write songs like Neil Young but produce them like The Neptunes”). And so James reached out to a few key co-producers he’d met whilst travelling, who formed the backbone of ‘We Move’: namely, Nineteen85 (Drake, DVSN), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Years & Years), and Frank Dukes (Kanye West, Rihanna). Mixing took place largely in Miami with one of McMorrow’s all-time heroes, Jimmy Douglass – known for his work from Donny Hathaway through to Timbaland – who finessed the record’s warm, vintage yet forward-thinking feel.
The result is an album about movement – geographically, mentally, emotionally – which remains focused on finding your place in that future. First track ‘Rising Water’ is starkly-produced and skyscraper-sized in its sense of catharsis (“I never once was sad for what I’ve done”): ‘Evil’, meanwhile, questions whether you might in fact be a bad person, because you don’t see life the way other people do (its tone is celebratory rather than ominous, however). Heavier still is ‘I Lie Awake Every Night’, which sees James address for the first time the eating disorder he has battled since he was a child (“it’s about lying in hospital when I was a kid, thinking I shouldn’t be there, and trying to reconcile those two things”). ‘We Move’ reacts against McMorrow’s instincts to obscure ideas such as this, and ultimately embraces a shared, collective awkwardness, and the idea that maybe we’re all putting on a brave face in some way.
Beginning with Rising Water, ‘We Move’ continues a remarkable journey for the Dublin-born singer and songwriter, whose early work offered little clue as to the sounds and situations that would follow. It’s a remarkably assured collection, informed by this idea that you might not have to listen to others when they tell you how they think life is supposed to go; and that as you grow up, you lose things along the way. Rather, ‘We Move’ suggests it’s possible to keep what you want to keep, and lose what you want to lose.
“Truly Impressive” *** MOJO
“An assured and heartfelt work” – Uncut
“Cements his reinvention with his spectacular third album” – Sunday Times
“McMorrow has now fully transitioned into a future soul man to file alongside Frank Ocean” – Evening Standard
“Kanye would surely approve” – Drowned in Sound
“Sonic splendour” – Mixmag
“Genuine pop-soul mastery” Clash
“An album full of big hooks, gorgeous melodies” Pigeons and Planes
Praise for ‘Post Tropical’:
“Sonically audacious, visually stunning and meticulously modern” The Times *****
“Profound and unexpected…a singular style” Mojo ****
“With its deliberate, languorous pleasures, this is an album to live with, settle with and be crisply rejuvenated by” Pitchfork
“A richly textured, hip-hop influenced odyssey” Esquire
Special Guest Maria Kelly
Maria Kelly, recently named one of ’50 people to watch in 2017’ in The Irish Times, has been captivating audiences with her ‘bare-boned’ live performance since the age of fourteen. Her music, a subtle blend of atmospheric-folk, tells humanising and heart-breaking tales, with ‘pin-drop’ vocal precision that’s impossible to ignore.
Following the release of her debut single ‘Before It Has Begun’ (Veta Records) in 2015, Maria has played relentlessly across the UK and Ireland. She appeared on the 2015 Other Voices music trail and was named ‘Artist of the Week’ by Nialler9.
Following that, her song ‘Black and Blue’ premiered in Consequence of Sound last summer, who celebrated her ‘silky smooth vocals’ and the maturing richness of her sound.
Her latest single ‘Stitches’ has been praised by the 405 (‘honest fragility, poignant pen-work’) and named as one of ‘The Best Tracks of 2016’ in The Irish Times.