top of page

David Howley concludes the U.S. leg of the "For Venus" release tour with a breathtaking performance

By Shannon Flack May 2, 2023

David Howley at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA (Shannon Flack)

David Howley is a talented musician and performer who recently played at Jammin' Java, a cozy venue located in Vienna, Virginia. This performance concluded the U.S. leg of his tour supporting his latest album, For Venus. Howley’s music blends traditional Irish folk with contemporary rhythms, creating a unique sound that is both familiar and refreshing. His performance at Jammin' Java was nothing short of exceptional, showcasing his extraordinary musicianship, engaging personality, and infectious energy.

Having originated from Ireland, he has established himself as a prominent figure in the folk music scene, initially as part of the highly regarded group We Banjo 3. Later, he went on to showcase his talents through his solo works, culminating in the release of his latest album "For Venus."

“For Venus," is a testament to his creativity and resilience during a challenging time. Written during the pandemic, the album was inspired by mythology and showcases Howley's unique storytelling ability. While creating the album, Howley retreated to the woods of New Hampshire, where he was able to find solace and inspiration in nature. "For Venus" is notable not just for its content, but also for the team behind it. Howley made a conscious decision to work exclusively with an all-female team, and the result is a powerful and diverse collection of songs that showcase his talent as a musician and songwriter. Overall, "For Venus" is a testament to David Howley's dedication to his craft, as well as his commitment to collaboration and inclusivity in the creative process.

Jasmine Gillison opening for David Howley at Jammin' Java (Shannon Flack)

The show at Jammin' Java began with the talented Virginia native Jasmine Gillison, who took to the stage to deliver an eclectic mix of original songs and covers. In between her songs, she opened up to the audience about her struggles as a performer and an introvert. Despite the difficulties, performing is something that she enjoys. Jasmine's music often juxtaposes her typically cheerful personality with somber themes, which she channels through her smooth and calming voice with its distinctive raspy tone. Overall, her opening set was a beautiful showcase of her unique musical style and a fitting precursor to the main act of the evening, David Howley.

David Howley stands infront of a mesmerized audience performing a ballad (Shannon Flack)

David Howley's performance of his album "For Venus" at Jammin' Java was a stunning display of his talents as a musician and songwriter. The majority of the album was performed, including haunting ballads like "Surrender" and the energetic "Dig Your Heels." In addition to the album tracks, Howley also treated the audience to some lesser-known gems from his repertoire, including “Run” and the hauntingly beautiful “Shadow."

Howley opened up about his struggles with mental health and how it relates to the myth of Orpheus, before launching into the ballad "Shadow." He spoke about the importance of moving forward and not turning back, a message that is reflected in the song's lyrics. Howley also shared that the song was inspired by his own experiences with self-doubt, and he revealed that he had been nervous about the tour and had even considered cancelling it. However, he was grateful for the support of the fans who had come out to see him perform. When someone asked him about the small audience, Howley responded with grace, expressing his gratitude to those who had shown up to support him. His openness and vulnerability on stage created a powerful connection with the audience, and his message of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity was deeply inspiring.

One of the standout qualities of David Howley's live performances is his ability to strike a balance between his heartfelt, introspective songwriting and his clever and witty banter with the audience. Between songs, he engaged the crowd with humorous anecdotes, self-deprecating jokes, and insightful commentary on the meaning behind his songs. This skillful balancing act allowed Howley to connect with his audience on multiple levels, drawing them in with his thought-provoking lyrics and then putting them at ease with his humor and charm. Whether he's performing in front of a small, intimate audience or a large festival crowd, David Howley's ability to perfectly balance his deep song meanings with clever and witty banter is a testament to his talent and charisma as a performer.

Howley sits with the audience to perform a rendition of the american folk tune "Long Black Veil" (Shannon Flack)

David Howley added a special touch to his rendition of the classic American folk song "Long Black Veil" by sitting on the edge of the stage, creating an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of his early days playing in small pubs. This was the first time he had chosen to perform the song this way, and it allowed him to connect with the audience on a deeper level. Howley's love for the song was evident which brought a new dimension to the already haunting lyrics. As he shared with the audience, playing music has always been a natural part of his family's life, and this love and passion for music shone through in his performance. Overall, David Howley's rendition of "Long Black Veil" was a beautiful tribute to his roots in folk music and a moving reminder of the power of music to connect us to our past, present, and future.

Howley closed the show with an encore of "Feel It.” A poignant and heartfelt ballad that speaks to the pain and frustration of not being able to express the love you feel. The song featured Howley's signature fingerpicking guitar style and emotive vocals, which conveyed a sense of longing and emotional intensity that is both powerful and authentic. The lyrics are introspective and honest, exploring the difficulty of communicating one's feelings and the fear of rejection that can accompany them. As the song progressed, Howley's vocals become more impassioned, culminating in a powerful chorus that captures the raw emotional intensity of the song's central theme. He encouraged the small but mighty crowd to join in during the chorus which resulted in a choir of voices; voices that were once strangers but through the shared experience of David Howley’s performance seemingly became an ensemble of friends.

Overall, David Howley's performance at Jammin' Java was a powerful testament to his talent and his commitment to creating music that touches the heart and soul. His incredible musicianship and heartfelt lyrics left the audience mesmerized from beginning to end. From the intimate performance of "Long Black Veil" to the energetic rendition of "Dig Your Heels," Howley masterfully balanced the atmosphere of the evening. His onstage banter and candid insights into his creative process and personal struggles added a layer of authenticity that made the performance even more powerful. It's clear that David Howley is a true talent, and his dedication to his craft was evident in every moment of his performance. Anyone who appreciates soulful music and an engaging live show would be remiss to miss the opportunity to see David Howley perform live.

David Howley plays the bouzouki during the "For Venus Release Tour" (Shannon Flack)


bottom of page