As has been said on this blog numerous times in the past, songwriting is a skill and those who can perform it well are artists of the highest standard who can tell stories and stir emotions with their lyrics and music. Over the past year I have began to familarise myself with one of the best practitioners of the art form that I have ever heard, Moon Looks On, otherwise known as Sligo native Stephen Gormley.
My first time seeing Gormley perform was last December, when he did a short acoustic set with Moon Looks On member Matilda O’Mahony, and I was immediately intrigued by the standard of songwriting on show.
One of the most compelling aspects about the music of Moon Looks On is that fact that each song seems to create a compelling and layered story that draws the listener in as the story is then fleshed out with reflective and provoking instrumentation. It is difficult to exactly pinpoint a genre for the band, with influences from a variety of different musical styles making their way into the instrumentation. The band have gone on to perform on some of the most highly respected stages in music, with feature performances at Other Voices, Electric Picnic, Glastonbury, and others making up a mighty impressive list of venues and events where the band has performed.
Another product of the BIMM Dublin production line, Gormley has been cultivating his song writing over many years and routinely churns out heart-wrenchingly beautiful pieces of music that mark him out as one of the best song-writers in Ireland music at the moment. This post will out line some of my favourite songs by the performer.
The Long Way Round
Probably my favourite song by the Dublin based songwriter thus far, I first heard this song as Gormley performed his resident Saturday night set in Bar Rua in Dublin and was immediately taken by the lyrics and instrumentation. A beautiful song about waiting for life to fall into place so that you can be with the person you love, I first heard it at a time when the lyrics seemed to tell my story – the sign of properly good art. A perfectly constructed piece of music.
Sorry State Blues
As stated in the opening paragraph of this post, a good songwriter will tell stories with their music that manage to draw the listener in, and this is extremely prevalent in the song Sorry State Blues. Performed A Capella when performed live, it is another demonstration of the standard of songwriting as we are told of a prisoner recognising the plight that they are currently faced with.
Colourblind is another example of the ability of Stephen Gormley to write songs about love that leave you reminded of the beauty of this sensation that we all search for in our lives. This is stunning piece of songs writing where the song/writer espouses the importance and value of love in our lives and the profound effect it has on those who experience it. The touching and well-crafted lyrics are complimented by melodic and soothing guitar playing to complete the listening experience.
Rapture (iiO cover)
If there is something that I enjoy, it’s when an artist takes a song that is seemingly completely removed from their genre and transform it to fit their sound. This cover of the iiO cover is a prime example of Gormley’s ability to adapt different songs to suit his vocal range and musicianship. Excellent.
I can’t wait to hear more from Moon Looks On in the future.