Meath man Eugene Donegan has used his roots and his american influences to create an interesting and impressive second album ‘Sail Against The Wind’. The album is a blend between folk, Americana and alternative genres, which produces something quite special.
With the accompaniment of Joy Booth, whose calming voice adds something beautiful to the songs, the album is a largely relaxing and enjoyable one. That is not to say that it is simple, far from it. Lyrically and musically, from start to finish, ‘Sail Against The Wind’ impresses throughout. The album is compromised of mainly love songs such as Rosie My Dear, which, although very sweet and still skillfully written, can be slightly tiresome. So the songs in which Donegan’s skills really shine are in the songs that veer slightly away from this theme and are a bit more experimental musically, Robert Hanley is a perfect example of this. In this track, we really hear the skill of storytelling that Donegan clearly has.
The vocal abilities of both singers work so well together, but they are both fully capable of singing alone. This is particularly evident on title track Sail Against The Wind and single Mislaid Heart where both the vocal and the lyrics are truly beautiful and soothing.
Sometimes, the album sounds slightly like a cover or a tribute album, it seems that Eugene Donegan is being a bit too influenced by the likes of Springsteen and Dylan. However, it is clear that he admires these greats hugely and has tried to put his own spin on it, but it’s undeniable that there’s moments where it seems he has been slightly too influenced. It is reminiscent of multiple other artists, however this should not belittle the talents of Donegan (and indeed, Booth) it simply acknowledges his influences.
All in all, ‘Sail Against The Wind’ is an enjoyable album that showcases the talents and potential of this singer-songwriter; with only minor faults to be found, listen after listen, there is always something new and impressive hidden inside.