Ultan stays true to himself in a world of musical conformity

Ultan Conlon...Black Gate gig.
Ultan Conlon...Black Gate gig.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

With the music industry in a constant state of evolution, artists can often fall into the trap of becoming a by-product of their time; as popular sounds change and public approval swells in favour of new genres, there is a natural sense of conformity about a certain amount of popular music.

It is refreshing, then, to happen upon a singer-songwriter like Loughrea’s Ultan Conlon, who writes songs purely for the love of his craft and who, in fact, has often viewed public performance as an anxiety-inducing experience.

Ultan released his latest single online last week – In the Blink of an Eye is an upbeat folk-pop track with a personal, lyrical core. It was mixed in the US by award-winning producer Vance Powell.

“I was very lucky to get him,” Ultan admits. “I met Vance Powell maybe a year and a half ago in Nashville when I was mixing my album with a different guy called Collin Dupuis who is amazing in his own right – he’s got a Grammy under his belt for a Dr John album.

“We got the album mixed a bit earlier than we thought we would and he took me around to a few different studios where I met Vance Powell and hung out with him for a little while.”

In the Blink of an Eye may refer to the speed with which life can change but the process of recording and releasing it was certainly drawn out. Ultan took care in honing the song and relying on help from talented friends.

“The recording we did was just basically a band doing a live song,” he notes. “I took it away and we did some overdubs – a guy in Copenhagen did the brass; a friend in England, Boo Hewerdine, did some post-production and a friend in Italy did some editing on it… then it was sent to Vance. So it was kind of pieced together, it was a pretty roundabout way of doing it for one song.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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