Since moving to Dublin back in 2014 I have spent my time acclimatising myself to the different live music nights that happen around the city, and one of the best ones that you can hope to attend is The Ruby Sessions on a Tuesday night in Doyle’s.
There is always that chance that on any given Tuesday you might come across an artist that you go on to become a massive fan of, and this was the case on the very first night I attended when I came across the music of Wexford singer/songwriter Callum Orr (otherwise known as Callum O’Riordan off stage). There was something about the interesting and carefully constructed songwriting on show that greatly appealed, as the performer sang three original songs and a cover of Beeswing by Richard Thompson.
This article will take a look back at the debut EP from the Wexford man, Patchworks & Learning, which was released back in 2014. It was a marvellous release from Orr and marked him out as an inventive and interesting songwriter.
The record opens with one of the songs that Orr played that night in Doyle’s, Short Supply, and it stands as a strong and triumphant beginning to the release. The first thing that you notice on this track is the standout guitar parts as acoustic and electric guitar battle for supremacy, as the songwriter constructs as a story of being worn out by dramas that are happening around you and being barely able to keep yourself going, nevermind someone else. It is an excellent testament to the capability of Orr to construct vivid narratives in his writing. Special mention to the excellent brass throughout the track.
The musicianship and high quality of songwriting is obvious across all the recordings with songs like Crooked Steps Over the Dunes, Your Ex-Lover Is Alive, and Spikes in the Graph demonstrated the fuller sound and emotional feel that Callum Orr can so effectively create. The latter in particular showing a darker edge than the rest of the EP.
Track three, however, is the one that properly grabbed my attention at that The Ruby Sessions. Vices is a fantastic piece of music about the efforts that we all make to distract ourselves from the mundanity of everyday life. Lead by excellent bass lines and another example of Orr’s guitar playing, it is an excellent exploration of the urge for people to escape reality.
Another song on the EP that stood out the first time I heard it was the fifth track, Snowstorm. A love song about missing someone and being willing to go searching for them even even in the face of strong obstacle. A heart-warming listen.
A fantastic piece of work.