RUAIRÍ & THE OWLS – Lucky 7
LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…
RUAIRÍ & THE OWLS is the creative output of Irish north coaster Ruairí Connolly. Armed with a selection of Derry musicians from small town Limavady at the helms to bring his catchy well crafted songs alive on stage. Great dynamics, witty lyrics and hooky melodies. You can’t help but get your feet stomping and hands clapping experiencing this bunch of charismatic musicians live. With two albums under his belt there’s plenty to get stuck into.
Northern Ireland is a special place for me, vastly different to English pre-conceptions; where majestic mountains and beautiful countryside sweep the lush Irish landscapes. I’m also no stranger to Limavady or its hospitality. I’ve sought its solace when I was too ill to fly home and drank heavily in what must be one of the world’s greatest pubs, Frank Owens. A pub that not only served up the best pint of Guinness I’ve ever had but also dishes out trays of free doughnuts and pastries to its hungry throng of drinkers, all to rapturous applause. It’s also home to one Ema McKay – my very good friend and girlfriend to Ruairí Connolly – a lady who knows the true purpose of a saucepan, can wear the shit out of a dressing gown, makes a mean Malteser and has taken the hangover shuffle to brave new heights.
Over to the hugely talented Ruairí with his Lucky 7…
1. BELL X1 – ‘VELCRO’
Heavens above I love this band! One of my all time favourites. They’re incapable of writing a bad tune. Paul Noonan’s poetic informal style of writing lyrics is second-to-none. Honest, direct and laced with witty Irish charm. You can’t help but fall in love with his way with words. Velcro is an absolute gem. Catchy synths, great lyrics and a brilliant video to match. Damien Rice’s departure was the best thing to happen this budding bunch of Irish musicians.
2. DEPECHE MODE – ‘WORLD IN YOUR EYES’
What a track to kick off an absolute cracker of an album. Every song on this record could have been a single. ‘Personal Jesus’, ‘Enjoy The Silence’, ‘Policy Of Truth’ and finally ‘The World In Your Eyes’ were all spawned singles from Depeche Mode’s 7th album ‘Violator’. Hard to believe it’s 3 decades old. I remember hearing the intro synth riff. Immediately I was sold! Producer Flood pumped new blood and ideas into these lads as the 80’s were closing and the outcome in my opinion was Depeche Mode’s finest body of work.
3. THE SMASHING PUMPKINS – ‘CHERUB ROCK’
Jimmy’s tight snare roll, fuzzy overdubbed distorted guitars, then those rasp narly vocals of Billy’s. Right off the bat I was hooked and have been ever since. As a young impressionable teen the pumpkins had everything I was looking for. Siamese dream is a 90’s rock master piece from start to finish.
4. THE BEATLES – ‘A DAY IN THE LIFE’
Picking just one Beatles song was a very difficult task indeed. After a little head scratching I settled on ‘A day in the life’. A Lennon and McCartney masterclass in songwriting. Different pieces of music weaved perfectly together as only John and Paul knew how. I love the arrangement of this song, then that chaotic building crescendo to finish it all off. If you listen intently you can hear Ringo’s chair squeak as the sustained piano chords are fading out at around 4:50. A Little Beatles pop trivia for you there!
5. ELLIOTT SMITH – ‘A FOND FAREWELL’
I discovered Elliott Smith back in my Uni days. Instantly I was obsessed. His music had such a profound effect on me. I listened to nothing else for months on end. He kept me company during my unhappy stint at university. Songs entangled in such sorrow yet radiating so much warmth and hope. His music taps straight into the heart and you can’t help but feel you knew him on some sort of personal level. Sadly Elliott took his own life a few weeks before he stumbled into my existence. ‘A Fond Farewell’ is quentiessientally Smith at his best. He sits you down, sucks you in, then quietly spills out his guts. Songwriting at its purist and most beautiful.
6. FLEETWOOD MAC – ‘EYES OF THE WORLD’
What can I say about Fleetwood Mac that hasn’t been said before. An amazing archive of wonderful music, wrapped in such dramatic band history. I chose ‘Eyes of the world’ as I never tire of this song. Buckingham has to be one of my all time favourite guitar players. He has such an organic unique way of playing. It’s as if the guitar is an extension of his body. I love the riff in this song and can’t help but want to hear it over and over again. What a man, what a band!
LUCKY 7: RUAIRI & THE OWLS – ‘LYING EYES’
I wrote this song towards the end of a failing relationship. I thought it’d be interesting to write from both perspectives. Hence the male and female narrative throughout. I remember coming up with the intro piano riff, then it pretty much wrote itself very quickly. I guess my subconscious had something to say at that difficult time. It’s hard to take credit for songs like these when you don’t have to do much to get them out. My friend was managing this local singer songwriter at the time. She had a lovely tone to her voice. I asked if she’d like to sing on the track with me and she said she’d love to and that was that!
‘Lying eyes’ is taken from RUAIRÍ & THE OWLS’ second album ‘I Was Somewhere else’. Available on Spotify and all other major music sharing platforms.