Rodney gets back into the Owl musical groove

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Rodney Owl, the moniker of Armagh native and adopted Galwegian Mark McConville, released Truth is Broken earlier this year – the second LP on the Black Gate’s record label, following on from Niamh Regan’s Choice Prize-nominated Hemet in 2020.  Produced by Alex Borwick and carved from an abstract catalogue of luscious and compelling melodies, it was as rich and ambitious a release as anything Galway has seen in the past few years. As a versatile fixture of the city’s music scene, Mark has, through the years, developed into a prolific songwriter.

In October, he followed up the album with the swaying, jangling obituary I’m Dead. In his own words, a spirit waltz, if you will. Now he is pushing Disaster Heart, track 11 on Truth is Broken, as his latest single.

Another meditation on impermanence and a shining example of the album’s far-reaching philosophy, it is something of a surprise that the song came from a different era to its counterparts. Disaster Heart goes back to Mark’s time with mid-noughties five-piece the Cartoon Thieves.

“Peadar [King] suggested it for the album, and I said I don’t know about that, going back and doing old songs,” Mark admits.

“He said it’s never been released and it’s kind of forgotten but it’s a great tune. We stuck it on there and it came out well. It’s actually one of my favourite ones on the album.

“I wouldn’t have put it on there myself but the more I’ve listened to it, I’m really glad he convinced me to put it on there… The sound of it on the album as well – it’s quite lush and chunky with the bass and drums. It’s one of the ones that I think came out the way I would’ve thought about it. We nailed that one.”

Pictured: Rodney Owl…new single.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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