Richie Healy lives outside of Kilkenny, Ireland, where he raises sheep and grows hay on a 70-acre farm. Some of his musical influences include Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Tom Waits. Healy’s chill inducing, gritty-rasp vocals makes him a perfect addition to the blues, folk genre. His Last Taxi Home album portrays the human journey through his development of certain atmospheres and places with strong imagery.
Each track on Healy’s album offers a lot of vocal and instrumental character, but a few of these songs have a little extra magic. “Changes” starts Last Taxi Home by being reminiscent of a Western film. Someone enters the town planning to cause change; it commands you to stop and listen. “Room Around Here” starts with a piano, the first track on the album to depict this type of instrumental solo. Its lines “something tells me that the devil got a room around here,” grabs you, not only for its intensity but because it represents a major theme of the first half of the Last Taxi Home album: inner and outer demons. The combination of the softness of the piano with the darker lyrics of the “Room Around Here” creates a tantalizing juxtaposition.
Following that song is “Lost Souls,” which purely uses found sounds - like wind chimes - and instruments. It relies heavily on the somberness of the guitar and acts as a break/transitional phase for Last Taxi Home. What makes this point in the song transitional is that many songs following it have a calmer, reflexive nature. An example is “Steal Down the Rainbow.” The track creates Healy’s most mesmerizing usage of his vocals. “Swans and Hobos” exemplifies what Healy does best: create vivid, powerful imagery, and places listeners in certain settings.
Instrumentally, the band shines by allowing Healy to remain the star of the song. Some artists get outperformed by the band not fitting with the nature of the song and singer. On the other hand, some bands add nothing or get completely drowned out by the vocals. With Healy and his accompanying music, it’s a perfect marriage.
Healy creates one of those rare musical experiences where you’re completely enamored from the first note and it continues on throughout the whole album. Songs like “Room Around Here” and “Steal Down the Rainbow” from Last Taxi Home will haunt you for decades to come, in a good way.
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