A few months ago, I wrote a piece about the song Train Rider by Canadian singer/songwriter Jacob Henley. The song is a gorgeous exploration of the sensations attached to falling in love with a random stranger and feeling as though there is a sense of destiny about the whole occurrence. It was one of the best songs that I have heard in recent years and it’s official release was eagerly anticipated by anyone who had heard Henley before. It was a song that deserved a big launch night, and last night in The Workman’s Club it got just that.

From the moment people started to wander into the Wellington Quay venue there was a lovely sense of togetherness in the air and that this was going to be a special night. Over the last few years, Henley has managed to generate a large support network of musicians in Ireland and this was evident from the level of goodwill and enthusiasm that was present among everyone in the room.

Their confidence was rewarded. Across the hour that he was on stage, Jacob Henley demonstrated all the charisma and musicianship that people had become familiar with. There was a confidence to how every song was performed and it made for compelling watching as the talented Canadian and his outstanding supporting band; Hugh O’Neill (bass), Rob Kennedy (drums), and Alan Kenna (guitar) dominated the stage.

The show also demonstrated the quality of songwriter that Henley is, and it felt that there was a lot more singles to come from the songs being performed with Tripping Over Myself standing out in my mind as one to watch out for. The finale of the show came in the form of the aforementioned single and it was as wonderful a moment as you would have expected with every line being screamed back by those in attendance.

It would be remiss to write a review of this gig without paying attention and heed to the quality of the support acts who were on show as well. First up was up-and-coming singer/songwriter, Josh Graywho opened proceedings with a lovely acoustic set.

Next up, a bit of spare time in the running order meant that Hugh O’Neill, who would later be on stage playing bass for Jacob Henley got to perform a few songs for the early crowd.

The last act to occupy the support slots was the Dublin singer/songwriter, Tim Chadwick. Back in early 2015, I attended my first ever Ruby Sessions and one of the acts to play that night was Chadwick, and ever since then I’ve been a massive fan. Last night again demonstrated the incredible vocal and songwriting ability that he possesses. A magical set.

This was a great night, and demonstrated that Jacob Henley will be an artist that will be worth paying attention to in the coming years.

MK