Robyn G Shiels
Darkness has always been more appealing than the light. Truly, that moment between day and night is where we find the real truth about ourselves, and there are none more adept at chronicling this netherworld than Belfast based songwriter Robyn G Shiels.
“Timelessness” is a difficult quality to pin down, but with his tales of heartbreak and alienation, Shiels’ songs could be set in the gothic south of Flannery O’Connor, or contemporary Belfast, a million miles away from the smiling postcard images of the city that so many are familiar with. Nothing is certain in Shiels’ world, other than the fact that the night is darkest just before the dawn.
The voice is cracked, but powerful, whilst the band are as tightly coiled as a watch-spring, ready to explode into sound and fury at the slightest provocation. Possessing the haunting bleakness of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, the exploratory musical sensibility of Wilco and the lyrical beauty of Nick Cave, the music of Robyn G Shiels somehow still manages to stake out a territory all of its own.
These songs speak of experience and life lived, but still point towards something new.
Whether stripped back to just the voice and acoustic guitar, or cutting loose in a full band setting, Robyn G Shiels is able to bring a documentarian’s eye to any situation, coupled with the words of a poet. But just before it all seems too dark, he pulls back, a twinkle in his eye and another story to tell. In the world of Robyn G Shiels, it might be dark, but there’s still a powerful sense of warmth.
After performing with a roll call of “Who’s who” musicians, Shiels has proven time and time again that he can be devastating in the live arena, whilst releases such as 2005’s A Lifetime of Midnights album, and 2010’s The Great Depression EP stand as irrefutable proof of the man’s talent.
In 2011, Robyn will be touring and promoting, “The Great Depression” the long awaited follow up to, “A Lifetime of Midnights.”
Perhaps now it’s time to embrace the darkness. Our lives will be so much richer for it.
(Steven Edward Rainey)
Praise for Robyn G Shiels
Ward Park Gig June 2010: “The crowd hang on every word, and the music swings in all the right ways. It’s a quiet triumph from one of Belfast’s finest songwriters. Robyn G. Shiels’ caustic wit could bring a smile to even the coldest heart. Ward Park Rating: 8/10” – Radio Ulster – ATL
A Lifetime of Midnights: “Tragedy battles beauty throughout A Lifetime Of Midnights – the lyrical mood of the musically minimal ‘I’d Go To Funerals’ is made entirely conspicuous by its title, while ‘Sad Is Sometimes As Lonely’ matches an upbeat strum to some wonderfully melancholy words of emotional fragility…Allow the voice to settle in just one place, then: your stereo, your home, as night encroaches upon you.” – Drowned in Sound
The Great Depression EP: “Unlike countless other releases that name check the likes of Will Oldham, Low and Red House Painters as musical references, this is a record that can withstand – and I’d argue surpass – those comparisons with ease.” – Matt Dornan, Editor, Comes with a Smile