Wednesday, 5 Jun
Wylam Brewery, Newcastle
Thursday, 6 Jun
Leeds Irish Centre
Saturday, 8 Jun
Royal Festival Hall, London
Following the kaleidoscopic adventure of Villagers’ fifth album Fever Dreams, award-winning Dublin singer-songwriter-instrumentalist-dramatist Conor O’Brien returns with the intimate inventory, That Golden Time, set for release on May 10th. The exquisite new album unfurls O’Brien’s trademark melodic flair, his gift for simultaneously vivid and subtle arrangements and lyrics that couch his hopes, fears and dreams in richly absorbing poetry. That Golden Time takes its name from the fifth track, which doubles as the album’s lead single. “I wanted the warmth of the record reflected in its title,” O’Brien explains. “The song also touches on a theme that keeps cropping up, of romanticism versus realism. How can you have aspirational ideas about yourself and the world around you, whilst being confronted with a harsh, cold reality? The friction interested me.”
After the band-centred sessions of its predecessor, That Golden Time’s solo-centric core was not forced on O’Brien by lockdown. “For me, That Golden Time has an internalised voice, so much so that I almost found it impossible to let anyone else in,” he says. “It’s probably the most vulnerable album I’ve made. I played and recorded everything in my apartment, and finally, towards the end, invited people in.” Invites went out to, among others, Irish legend Dónal Lunny [Planxty, The Bothy Band] on bouzouki, American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick on violin, and a group of players that O’Brien had first seen performing in a tribute to one of his great loves, Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who added soprano vocal, viola and cello.
Alongside their previously announced largest ever headline show to date at Dublin’s Trinity College, Villagers will play London’s Royal Festival Hall in June.