Inspiration comes in many colours. Often, though, blue is the colour of our true love songs. Simon Herron has been around Liverpool’s acoustic scene for a while and the Derry-born singer/songwriter has continued to turn heads with his songs of delicacy and drive. He’s added something else now, though, following the death of someone close to him and it’s beautiful. By Alan O’Hare.
“This new song is a tribute to the life and work of my late grandfather, the Irish poet and playwright, Francis Harvey,” says Simon Herron. The Derry-dweller and Liverpool-living singer/songwriter’s latest release, ‘For A Minute’, is beautiful. There’s a finger-picked pulse, alongside a hypnotic acoustic guitar figure, and a melody that builds to something very special. “Follow the sparrow as he goes” sings the Irishman and ‘For A Minute’ starts to soar on a bed of strings, precision percussion and a memorable cello line.
“My grandfather’s work deals with both the people and the landscape of the North West of Ireland and the song strives to echo those sentiments… it plays out a little like a moment in his shoes.” It certainly moves in mysterious ways. Herron, known around Liverpool as the author of the kind of delicate folk music that’s often called ‘alt folk’, has hit the hot spot with this tune and he knows it. “It’s a solitary and reflective wander through the hills and mountains of Donegal,” he says. The single climbs and climbs until the acoustic guitar disappears out of view amongst the cipher of clouds at the top of the tune. Herron’s music has always hovered, rather than soared, but the dynamic shift in ‘For A Minute’ – not to mention some Bon Iver-esque stacked harmonies – suggests he might be ready to take flight.
Often compared to Damien Rice, his music shares a space with lots of melancholic magic, but the Derry man manages to move into his own space, too, as all soothing soul singers do. Older tunes like the celestial ‘A September Song’ and the eerie ‘I Will Watch You Son’ (both taken from 2015’s ‘Demons’ EP) contain all the gentle gravitas of, say, Iron & Wine and picked up BBC 6 Music airplay and rave reviews – whilst never quite taking a peak over the parapet.
All that has changed with Herron’s new EP, ‘Now I’ve Closed My Eyes’, imminent and ‘For A Minute’ starting to whisper its secret into the ear of listeners.
‘For A Minute’, by Simon Herron, is out now
Pic by Simon