For various reasons I spent a lot of time today thinking about Northern Ireland - and not just because of the World Cup qualifier, which didn't turn out so well for us. I've always found that people in the US are eager to hear about Irish singers and musicians and have been pretty good at supporting them.
When my American friends ask "who should I listen to that I might not have heard?", one of the people I point them to is Foy Vance, from Bangor, an excellent singer and clever songwriter. He was just in New York a couple of months ago and played at the Roots jam at the Highline Ballroom, and he's currently on tour in Europe with Tori Amos.
There's a nice interview with him from last year here - I love that when he's asked "which song do you wish you'd written" he replies "It's a coin toss between 'Amazing Grace' and 'Anarchy In The UK'".
Anyway - check out his work; here's his "Gabriel and the Vagabond", one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard:
And the equally lovely "Indiscriminate Act of Kindness".