Paul J Bolger released his debut record on Wolfe Island Records in summer 2020 some twenty five years after his first album. However, in the context of the global Covid-19 crisis, he was unable to tour and promote the album as he’d hoped. Bolger said at the time: “After a lifetime spent shifting between music, visual art and film I am doing what I want to do at an age some might say. I should know better. Nothing can deliver instant satisfaction like writing, recording and performing a song you wrote for a live audience. Making this album has been a ‘never too late’ dream come true for this grey haired old rocker who finally found his voice.” And that voice is a distinctive vocal reminiscent of Nick Cave, full of character and feeling.
Now, Bolger has a new album ready to go but he decided to revisit that self-titled 2020 release one more time by creating a new video for one of the best-received songs, ‘Wedding Gown’, before putting out the new material. Burke Carroll’s ethereal pedal steel combines beautifully with Sarah McDermott’s haunting backing vocal. The result is truly atmospheric, a dramatic gothic narrative set to melodious sonic layers that build and soar by the song’s end. The video enhances the song’s mood with images of graveyards and the ghost-like figure in the wedding dress. Bolger says of the song and video: “Of all the songs I’ve written and recorded over the years ‘Wedding Gown’ is the one I am proudest of. A deep album cut from my Wolfe Island Records debut, I would like as many people as possible to have the chance to hear it hence our making this video. The video concept is by Barry Devlin (Horslips), shot by Colin Shanahan and directed by Yours Truly… I hope it gives the song a second wind.”
Horslips have referred to Bolger’s signature sound as ‘bog gothic’ and it’s a genre-name that seems to fit the emotive songwriting and driven narrative perfectly. ‘Wedding Gown’ is a sophisticated piece of songwriting that brings together a range of styles and influences. Check it out.