Album review: Foy Vance - The Wild Swan

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 June 2016

Foy Vance - The Wild Swan

Foy Vance - The Wild Swan


Polished, consistent and compelling Americana from feted new kid on the block.

Through some dastardly combination of sheer talent, luck, willpower and fate, Vance has got his career off to a flying start.

Catching the ear and heart of Ed Sheeran led to the star signing him up (this is the second album on Sheeran’s own label), starting a journey that’s seen him record in Nashville’s legendary Blackbird Studios with Grammy-winning producer Jacquire King at the helm, and Elton John as exec producer.

Not to mention chalking up hundreds of thousands of YouTube views and being playlisted on major radio stations before The Wild Swan is even released.

And why all the fuss? Vance has a tunefully gruff voice that adds a leaden heft to his broad, poetic lyrics – the type that could reflect any listener’s circumstance if they squint a bit.

Several tracks turn well-worn workouts into copper-bottomed, heart-rending pop numbers in the American Songbook tradition, drawing on rootsy Americana, folk, country and gospel.

It’s that gritty, grainy voice of his that saves the day - the salt offsetting the schmaltz threatening to curdle Ziggy Looked Me In The Eye, with its surging piano and choir.

He can summon an authority beyond his years, too, bringing a certain Springsteen-esque spiritual weight to the hymnal Burden – and the military-style drums and bagpipe outro of Fire It Up (The Silver Spear) recall The Boss’s Seeger Sessions Band work.

On Upbeat Feelgood, Vance feeds horns, accordion and barroom piano into Ray LaMontagne’s looser-limbed work with The Pariah Dogs to superb effect, the shining production highlighting top-drawer musicianship.

And we’re offered a window into his mind in Noam Chomsky Is A Soft Revolution, his gruff voice name-dropping philosophers, sociologists and revolutionaries to the lively railroad twang of guitar, double bass and wailing brass in the final act.

There are a couple of missteps - particularly the drifting, synth-dusted She Burns – but this is a surprisingly consistent and engaging first chapter that will appeal to many.

Rating: 4/5 stars


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Since the play’s first outing, representations of the East End have become two-a-penny in mainstream popular culture but director Jessica Lazar doesn’t shy away from tropes that play up caricature and nostalgia

‘Waking’ centres around a single moment: a faint sense of recognition between a man and a woman


On February 2-3 . the annual festival returns, showcasing the best in dance this year


From February 1 to 11, the exhibition will showcase some of the world’s most interesting and revolutionary contemporary collagists, looking at redefining how the art form is expressed


“With teenagers there’s a lot of banter, and you can really establish a relationship. You have to trust teenagers to make their own decisions.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now