One of Ireland’s most refined singer songwriters, Stewart Agnew, is emerging from his self-imposed musical exile clasping a clutch of AOR masterpieces to his chest in the shape of his third album, Hello Bright Spark (Trick Records), which will be released on 30 September, simultaneously with the single “Look How The Stars Turn On”.
With initial writing and pre-production sped along by contributions from Lou Natkin and Paul Wilkinson, Stewart headed into the studio in May 2011. Renowned producer Roger Bechirian (The Undertones, Elvis Costello, Bell X1) took control of the console and in a whirlwind of eighteen studio days in the depths of leafy Westmeath the 10 songs that resulted offer slivers of magic and moments of sublime comfort. All of which makes for an album of light, optimism and progression that can’t fail to appeal, both musically and lyrically, to the broadest possible audience.
Agnew has expanded on the palate suggested by his previous albums (Tailor Made and, more recently, Songs From The Gasstation) displaying a pop-nous and songwriting maturity previously only glimpsed at.
In an era of insanely accelerated pop careers burnouts and X-factor pot-celebrity the Hello Bright Spark harks back to an era when craft, time and emotion meant so much more.
Stewart has played live with everyone from Ron Sexsmith (who guested on the last album) and Gemma Hayes to Mick Flannery and Beth Orton, Josh Ritter & Duke Special.
Praise for Songs From the Gasstation:
“The songs are lovingly crafted and exude a simplicity and frankness that is complemented by the stripped-down production.” Hot Press
“A slice of Springsteen, a sprinkle of Young and a dash of Ryan Adams….” Cluas.com
“Hints of Springsteen, Dylan and Waits peep through and while its clear that Agnew is still trying to find his real voice, its fairly obvious hes not too far away from it.” Irish Times