Back in May 2016, Andrew Cameron put the first track of his new solo project out there for the world to hear. The catchy and memorable ‘In The Dark’ instantly became one of our favourite releases of the year, and brought Brash Isaac to the attention of many in the Northern Irish scene. A series of further releases cemented Brash Isaac as one to watch, culminating in the release of his collection ‘Living In The Dark & Other Cliches’. That release is the sound of an artist exploring his genre, centred squarely on a singer-songwriter and his guitar.
In the first edition of our new feature the Belfast songwriter talks us through his inspirations and favourites, casting light on his songwriting and first releases.
Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good
I’ve jumped firmly on-board the Ryan Adams train in the last few years; the ultimate singer-songwriter’s singer-songwriter. My track ‘See The Light’ is my most country-rock effort to date, and the self-titled Ryan Adams album released in 2014 helped me craft it. This is a banger of an opening track.
David Bazan – How I Remember
A man with a way with words, providing unique melodies and conversational lyrics, all tied together in a classic three piece format of electric guitar, bass and drums. Simple and effective, it just works, and this song is a great example of it.
Nickel Creek – This Side
Don’t worry, not Nickelback, Nickel Creek. An amazing American bluegrass three piece with a contemporary edge, made up of siblings Sean and Sara Watkins, and one of my all-time favourite musicians Chris Thile (these names will be mentioned again). I found their CD This Side in my Dad’s car one day as a teen and I don’t think he’s gotten it back to this day. Definitely an influence on my softer, acoustic songs, and the reason I enjoy a good three part harmony. Thanks to my folks and their love of bluegrass for this one.
mewithoutYou – Tie Me Up! Untie Me!
Great band, great drummer, and having started off behind the kit, I always have a clear idea of drum and percussion parts for my music. MewithoutYou’s Richard Mazotta combines fascinating beats with all sorts of shakers and tambourines to bring their songs to life, and I for one, am a fan.
The Beatles – I’m Only Sleeping
A constant influence for me. From the bad haircuts and suits, to the worse haircuts and weird glasses, The Beatles were always innovators. My number one band of all time, and let’s not forget the fact that Ringo is an underappreciated drummer. Revolver would be my album of choice; it’s eclectic and diverse, something I set out to achieve on my six track EP.
Fiction Family – Give Me Back My Girl
I pretty much carbon copied the intro of this song for ‘In Two’. The lack of bass in the first verse excited me and I’m a sucker for a drum intro. Jon Foreman is another go-to influence on my writing, and Fiction Family is a combined project between him and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek, which also very much excites me.
Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford – Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)
From the soundtrack of the excellent Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, this reworking of an old folk number was a direct influence on my song ‘Only Ghost’. This is a great tune already, but take into the account that the recording features the talents of Oscar Isaac, Marcus Mumford and Chris Thile (Punch brothers, and you’ve guessed it, Nickel Creek), and I’m even more sold.
Frightened Rabbit – Nothing Like You
Honest, hard-hitting lyrics sung in a delectable Scottish drawl. Not afraid to open up in the form of song, interesting instrumentation and percussion, and damn those songs are catchy. Frabbit have it all.
Foy Vance – Regarding Your Lover
A track that pulls no punches; the whole Joy of Nothing album is full of them. My song ‘Elle, Tu’ is an attempt to emulate the raw emotion and blunt lyricism that Foy masters so well.
Punch Brothers – Movement and Location
Again, Chris Thile. Do yourself a favour and have a listen.