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Cat Dowling – Photo Credit: Angie Pappas Constable
My my, this certainly has been a busy season for Irish music-makers (or maybe we’re just hearing more about them these days) – Cathal Coughlan, Keeley, Lori Sky (formerly Lorraine McCauley), Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell – so much goodness flowing from the Emerald Isle. Once again, we turn our attention to Dublin (via the south-eastern town of Wicklow).
The subject of our sonic quest: indie pop artist Cat Dowling who is gearing up to release her new single “Freedom” on Friday. Cat Dowling’s vocals, melodicism, and pop sensibility are brilliant. Fleetwood Mac, Metric, Daughter, Kristin Hersh, Feist, and Marina all come to mind when listening to this sublime offering.
On the indie folk-popper “Freedom” an introspective and heartfelt Dowling emotes against gleaming guitar lines, prominent drum beat punctuation, and a shivery waver of strings that all swell into a sweeping current that is both passionate and liberating.
Born in Kilkenny, she has now made Dublin her home. Dowling’s voice has been lauded as one of the most impressive and evocative in Irish contemporary music. Against the backdrop of beautiful ambient and eclectic soundscapes, her beautifully dark pop songs and her convincingly intimate vocals will grasp and resonate with you from the outset.
“Freedom” is the second single from her forthcoming album, which will be released in autumn. Who knows if another single will be coming along the way, but we certainly hope so.
“I wrote this song just after the birth of my second child. It was the early hours of the morning and he was sleeping on my chest. The days had no plan and I loved those quiet hours in the dead of the night when the world slept. The lines and melody landed together. I didn’t know where they came from at the time but now they make sense – it’s a song about being free to be the person we’re born to be without the baggage and shackles of what went before us,” says Cat Dowling.
Produced by Gerry Horan with Dowling as co-producer, and mixed by Ger McDonnell (The Cure, U2, Van Morrison, Martha Wainwright, Shane McGowan, Sinead O’Connor), this was partially recorded at Crossroads Studio in Kilkenny (which housed the town’s first pirate radio station), with support from Ireland’s Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports, and Media.
Earlier this year, Dowling released “Trouble,” taking Ireland by storm with support on national radio, tastemaker and industry support, and a fantastic video by BAFTA award-winning director Fergal Costello. Based on a black comedy concept, it was filmed in winter in the Wicklow mountains, telling the story of a dark, comedic, and violent tale that takes place outside of Belfast in 1981.
In 2013, Dowling debuted with The Believer LP, which was ranked in numerous ‘Best of Year’ music polls, including The Sunday Times. The title track was the closing song on the ground-breaking second season of Banshee that was produced by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, American Beauty, True Blood) and appeared on the Witches of East End TV series, featuring Julia Ormond. The song “Somebody Else” also featured in My name is Emily, alongside music from Lisa Hannigan, Jake Bugg, and James Vincent McMorrow.
Cat Dowling has also lent her vocals on many collaborative projects, the most recent selected for a closing track on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder with Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis.
Dowling previously fronted Babelfish, which morphed into the successful electro/dream-pop act Alphastates. As the front woman and main songwriter, she released two albums and gained admirers for the energy on the live stage and for her hushed and raw deliveries.
On June 25, “Freedom” will be available everywhere digitally, including Bandcamp, where more of her music can also be found in the meantime.
Produced by Gerry Horan
Co-produced by Cat Dowling
Recorded by Karl Odlum, Gerry Horan, Jed Parle
Mixed by Ger McDonnell
Mastered by Fergal Davis
Performed by Cat Dowling, Gerry Horan, Jeremey Hickey, Marja Gaynor.
Music and Lyrics written by Cat Dowling (ISRC: TCAFP2198968)
Also catch some right-dark fun here courtesy of Fin Costello:
On ‘The Believer’, title track to her debut album, Costello also directed with Joe Van Velzen as cinematographer. More from Fergal can be found HERE
And the debut single from that album – what an incredible artist!