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FOR VENUS: an epic journey with David Howley

by Caroline Woodson April 16, 2023

Album Cover of for Venus by David Howley

They say history is a truth that becomes an illusion while mythology is an illusion that becomes a truth. David Howley’s new album, for Venus, centers around those illusions we take as reality.

This folk album feels like an anthology of poetry and mythology, following the journey we take alongside our hearts through love and life.

David Howley’s vocal quality is deep, warm, and steady. His voice is precisely needed to hold the weight of the lyrics. Howley’s voice is reminiscent of Hozier, but more chilling.

The heart poured into this album seeps out through all the different instruments: banjo, cello, fiddle, bass. The two fiddlers on this album, Ultan O’Brien and Bogdan Djukic, line this album like railroad tracks, helping to guide the music to precisely where it needs to go on its journey. I am a sucker for the cello, especially its appearance in “dig your heels”. This rich instrument mirrors the rich sound of Howley’s voice.

We see a lot of elements of The Hero’s Journey in for Venus. There is a call to adventure in the first song, “Monadnock”. Howley commands to “bow to the mountain, she is the one who stands alone.” This feels like a ceremonial start to an epic journey. This song acts as a preparation for the rest of the album, buckling us in.

Halfway through for Venus, we reach the ordeal with “dig your heels”. At the midpoint of the Hero’s Journey, the protagonist will reach a challenge so overwhelming, they have to find a new strategy to continue on. Howley realizes “they’ll come looking for you either way,” and suggests to “dig your heels into the ground”. This song feels confident and reassuring, reminding us to stay true to ourselves because the world will continue on no matter what we do.

As a hero nears the end of their journey, they must take the road home. We hear the trail down this road in “smoke is rising”. As Howley finishes this album and its journey, he begins to reflect on all he’s learned and the “footsteps of the truth they can’t hear”. Heartbreak will wreck your life, but it will also teach you so much about yourself and the world you want to live in. The imagery in this song is beautiful, it shows the intensity of what it takes to find yourself while navigating through life. Howley repeats “and I will hold on hope” throughout the song. Bogdan Djukic’s fiddle on this track sounds like that last bit of hope that is being steadfastly held onto.

At the end of any epic journey, the hero will return home changed. We can feel this change in the final track, “feel it”. One large change is Rachel Sermanni joining David Howley with her velvety voice. After an emotional album of heartbreak and unrequited love, we finally hear “I can tell you are feeling too”. Through the repetition of this affirmative phrase, the warmth of love spreads over the song. This finale to the album is so reassuring and tender.

for Venus is a captivating, haunting album that follows the epic journey we all have to take through love and life. Rich with storytelling and stunning musicality, David Howley has created a stirring, new collection of folk music.

Album release date: April 21st, 2023
Pre-save the album by clicking here
photo by Siobhén Moore

Born in Ireland, David Howley has been at the forefront of Irish guitar, voice and mandolin for over a decade. An award- winning vocalist, and holder of multiple Billboard #1’s, he has performed with The Chieftains, Eileen Ivers, Carlos Nunez, Billy Strings, Bela Fleck, Altan, Ajeet and Mumford & Sons, amongst others. In 2011, David founded We Banjo 3 and since has gone on to play Irish folk music around the world. David is currently releasing his first solo record “for Venus”. This music navigates the shadow with openness and vulnerability, all while drawing the listener to move.

For Venus release tour information

For ticket information click here


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