Kieran Conaway “Your Ghosts” (Buoy58, 2020)

The Americana music scene is getting crowded with new names. Getting a record deal is hard to come by, and in these hard times, it is even going to get harder. So it is no wonder that artists that are just arriving at the scene are resorting to self-publishing or starting their own labels. So it is no wonder that Nashville singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kieran Conaway is taking that route for ‘Your Ghosts’, his debut album. With releases piling up, the problem though is reaching an audience. After all, there is an abundance of choices and for the possible listeners the problem question would be – is it worth even a listen?

The usual problem with debut albums is that the artists often try to show too much, or they try to stick to a formula that seems to work with the audiences. Those trying to show off usually turn out not to have the ability to do so, those trying to stick to a formula turn out not to understand it end simply end up being boring.

Based on the evidence of ‘Your Ghosts’, Conaway doesn’t suffer from either of these problems. First of all, his vocal and instrumental skills, particularly his guitar playing show that he has both talent and abilities to tackle any aspect of Americana he wants – from the John Fahey-like guitar playing of the opener ‘Norway’ or the piano-led ‘The Road to something’ to balladeering ‘Greymare City.’  Even more so, his songwriting ability doesn’t stick to any particular formula, as he tries to wander through a number of styles that can fit the Americana tag with ease.

Of course, this is Kieran Conaway’s debut and he is yet to work to gain a wider audience, but ‘Your Ghosts’ definitely shows that he can deserve one.

Fans of Jonathan Wilson should certainly take a listen

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