Oliver cole

Cahill, Cole impress on stage, in studio

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Cavan’s Aine Cahill projects a vocal range and savvy well beyond her 20 years.[/caption]

By Colleen Taylor

The singer-songwriter genre is attracting more and more burgeoning musicians in Ireland. This week, I spent time with the latest work from two solo songwriters, Oliver Cole and Aine Cahill. Cole clashes the eerie with the electric in his sophomore album “Year of the Bird,” while Cahill’s vocals pair depth and melancholia in her EP “Paper Crown.” Their styles are distinctly polarized, but both musicians prove themselves well able to navigate the stage and the recording studio on the merit of their own, individual vision and vocals.

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Dubliner Oliver Cole cites Tom Waits, the Beatles and Neil Young among the influences on his musical style, but none of those really pin down his unique sound. Frankly, it’s something you have to hear for yourself. I can understand the Young influence in the sense that Cole freely explores the less polished sides to his voice. The bare, rough quality of his singing voice is somewhat reminiscent of Young’s folk songs. Still, Cole’s work is one of a kind. His album, which was released this summer, is dream-like, haunting and intriguing simultaneously.

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Dubliner Oliver Cole cites superstar influences but his sound is uniquely his own.[/caption]

The music videos Cole has produced to accompany his singles, such as the papier-mâché cartoon artistry of “Ah Ooh Ooh” (the title speaks for itself) appropriately match his somewhat uncanny sound. His creativity is growingly interdisciplinary. For instance, he recorded a duet with Gemma Hayes for his album called “The Happy Prince,” referencing the Oscar Wilde short story. Innovation is something Cole has in spades. He encapsulates futuristic folk and alternative vocals through the strange dance of his voice, guitar, and some electric intonations. Most recently, Cole played Electric Picnic. Check out his videos (of which he is always sharing and creating new ones) and his special songs on his Facebook page.

Aine Cahill is Cavan’s blossoming Adele. Her voice is all emotion, all depth, all soul. You would never guess her age if you heard her voice on the radio: this 20-year-old’s vocals project a range and savvy well beyond her age. It is jarring to watch her music video for “White Piano” when you can catch a glimpse of her braces as she sings in a voice of much more learned wisdom and profundity. She is a natural crooner, a true vocal talent.

While Cahill is undoubtedly still on the ascent to her career’s peak, the songs she has already written and recorded are being noticed in Ireland. “White Piano,” one of her first, is one of my favorites, but “The Pictures” is arguably her best yet. In this second, later track, her voice shows growth and her artistic vision evinces a more individualized insight. The drama and the sense of despair in this ballad suit Cahill. As bleak as it might sound, this young singer is in her element in those moments of artistic grief. I am impressed at her ability to conjure such emotional engagement and depth. It’s unsurprising the young singer’s EP, “Paper Crowns,” was named the number 1 unlabeled Irish EP in 2014. Even at such an early stage of her career, people are taking notice: Cahill was also nominated for Best Female Solo Act by Pure M Magazine. Like Cole, Cahill took the stage at Electric Picnic. She has also added a backing band to her ensemble, and she is headlining a show at Whelan’s in Dublin this week. No doubt, Cahill is on the upswing. You can listen to her heart-wrenching ballads on her Youtube channel or her Facebook page.

I don’t see these two artists doing a duet anytime soon, but they each, in their own specialized ways, evince the Irish community’s rich, constant musical output.