Alana Daly Mulligan gets chatting with singer-songwriter and fellow Déisí Tadhg Williams about his upcoming release ‘The Hope Song’.
Waterford singer-songwriter Tadhg Williams has had quite the year, pandemic aside. Enjoying the support of Hot Press and RTÉ Radio 1 for the release of his debut single ‘My Father’s Clouds’, coupled with the release of spoken-word project ‘The Story of Me and Them (In Three Parts)’ with collaborator Matt McGinn, The young Déisí has taken a trip back to the vault, recovered a song from his early days of songwriting, and reimagined it under producer Pat O’Connor.
Like his other work, lines like “home is where the heart lies” beat at the core of the narratives Williams weaves. With both spoken word and music, he is in a unique dialogue with himself and the people he calls home as he goes through the various stages of growing up. ‘The Hope Song’ is a quintessential example of this as Williams reflects on love lost, and the questions one asks when seeing romantic prospects being propelled across the sea. Written when Williams was eighteen, the song holds the innocence of young love and the fear of first heartbreak in tandem. Now twenty-two, the singer-songwriter has decided to birth some new life into one of the oldest songs in his creative arsenal. Pat O’Connor’s sweeping cinematic production has given the song a new lease of life which fully encapsulates the memory Williams conveys in the lyrics while simultaneously bringing this story into conversation with the present moment.
The rousing almost modernistic vision of the piece is rooted in Williams reconsidering his sound and artistic direction over the past year. The track seeks inspiration from the orchestration and structure of the songs of Richard Hawley and Elbow, and the very natural heart-on-sleeve-songwriting of the likes of Mick Flannery and Bell X1. While there is also a flirtation with the darker, more heartbroken side of the Irish folk scene (names like Damien Rice, The Frames come to mind), when Williams brings his soulful vocals into the mix, accompanied by all the various aspects of the orchestration, it becomes an anthem of hope, an answer to the question of whether or not we will see our loved ones again.
Quite honestly, I see this song having the same cultural impact as Tim Chadwick’s ‘Belong’, Gabrielle Aplin’s ‘Home’, and to go wild, even the Saw Doctors ‘N17’. ‘The Hope Song’ is part of a musical tradition focused on filling the space between two points on a map. It’s a song about wanting to make up the distance, to connect with another heart, and perhaps innocently, hope to find a home there.
‘The Hope Song’ was arranged and produced by Pat O’Connor. mixed and mastered by Thomas Donoghue, and features drums by Basciville’s Lorcan Byrne. Available on all streaming services from 26th February 2020 with ‘The Story of Me and Them (In Three Parts)’ featuring Matt McGinn as the B-side.
Pre Save ‘The Hope Song’ here.