From his debut album, Since Kyabram (2004), Ireland’s Declan O’Rourke has been praised by songwriting giants such as John Prine (“a great songwriter”) and Paul Weller (“he writes the sort of classic songs that people don’t write anymore”). His work, meanwhile, has been covered by world-class artists such as Christy Moore, Camille O’Sullivan, Eddi Reader, and Josh Groban.
O’Rourke has released seven acclaimed albums, an expressive body of work (“proferring reassurance in the face of inevitable sorrow” - New York Times’ music writer, Jon Pareles) that catches the light in many ways. His latest (seventh) album, Arrivals, is assuredly his most distinctive yet.
Released in April 2021, produced by Paul Weller, Arrivals features emotionally potent songs that summon the atmosphere of some of the great folk records that influenced the developing artist and musician as a younger, aspiring writer, (Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon, and Nic Jones Penguin Eggs, to name but two).
Emerging at a time when the world is in a phase of serious flux, Arrivals is more present than past, however, and is also his most humanitarian. “We all feel very strongly about various aspects of what is happening in the world right now. I feel like I’ve intermittently struggled to engage with what’s contemporary in my writing. But these times are so engaging, and compelling, that I’ve been pulled into the present.”
“It is a gem. Fabulous guitar and singing. Just love this Arrivals album’
— Pete Townshend
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have this record in my life for the past few months. Empathy and melody in abundance. Incredible storytelling. Declan’s ability to emotionally blindside you with a flash of beautifully observed detail is incredible. He’s the Irish John Prine.” — Pete Paphides - Writer, journalist & broadcaster
“O’Rourke is a masterful lyricist and staggering guitarist” — Mojo
“If he’s been a best-kept secret up to now, Arrivals should finally blow his cover”
“maturing quietly into one of the most significant Irish singers and writers of his generation.” — Mark Radcliffe – BBC Radio 2 Folk Show
“In a world clad with shortening attention-spans and a seemingly never-ending onslaught of over-stimulation, Declan O’Rourke and his intimate, contemplative music brilliantly stands out.” — American Songwriter