I Draw Slow at the Irish Arts Center


How it’s New York: I Draw Slow performed at the Irish Arts Center here in NYCScreen Shot 2014-08-01 at 8.00.31 PM
How it’s Irish: They are from Dublin

Sibling songwriters Louise and Dave Holden front the five piece band, which includes fiddler Adrian Hart, banjo player, Colin Denham and double bass player, Konrad Liddy. Having grown up in a family of traditional Irish musicians and singers, the siblings have taken a step away from their roots – but not too far – writing and performing in old time Appalachian mountain music.

It is very lively and easy to understand why they would do well in Ireland as well as in the South here in  the US – though they play ‘up north’ too including a sold out show at the Irish Arts Center on Thursday.

Decked out in hill country garb wearing check shirts and five varieties of brown shoes, which the eyes draw readily to as they stomp continuously adding percussion to the sound, and at times looked like they would extricate themselves away from their bodies  as they hopped feverishly to the beats.

They have a new album, ‘White Wave Chapel’ and interspersed new tracks off it with their old favorites, such as ‘Goldmine’, which they played as their encore. ‘Goldmine’ has a sharply produced video to go along with, as does their latest release, ‘Valentine’, which was directed by Hugh O’Connor, and stars Game of Thrones and Love/Hate’s, Aidan Gillen, playing Louise’s badass boyfriend. She said, that not being an actor was a disadvantage to her when making the video, (she actually writes an education column for the Irish Times), and it took six takes to get the slap she had to give him right. He walked off the set with a red cheek.

Louise is a great storyteller as well as a great singer. Her strong alto voice reminded me of Maura O’Connell’s early sounds, especially in tracks like Santiago, a fantastic song with the wonderful line, “I don’t suppose we’ve come this far to find this is all the way”.  She is very expressive when performing – it is a very contained expression most of the time – with her feet and hands almost as expressive as her voice.
For ‘Springtime’, the band members left the stage to the brother and sister. This aptly titled song is a lovely light song, like a fruity white wine. ‘Bread and Butter’ was purposely designed to be a very simple song, which Louise said was a much harder to write than all their other ones. They were replicating the style of the oldtime writers and succeeded with this rousing singalong that the band performed while almost bouncing on the stage, showering the audience with the energy, which the audience sent right back. A great song. A great night of music.

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