Rosie Carney at the Grand Social, 30th January 2019
Rosie Carney is an artist that has been gathering acclaim for some years now, but she worked hard to get to that stage. At 16, she was signed to Polydor and was subsequently dropped three years later. During that time, her depression reached such a low that she was forced to drop out of school to focus on her health, which is what she has been doing ever since. Last week, she released her debut album ‘Bare’ as an independent artist and the record has proven to be a stunning, cohesive documentation of the last few years as both a young artist and as someone who has survived a deep depression.
Tonight, she plays her first gig since the album release in Dublin’s Grand Social. Originally set to be in the venue’s new basement venue, demand saw it moved to the main room. Rows of chairs are already full by 8.30pm when Chanelle McGuinness picks up her guitar to warm up the crowd. Accompanied only by her electric guitar, her set is gentle, delicate and serves as the perfect palette cleanser for Rosie.
Rosie follows her three-piece band onto the stage and launches straight into 7, one of the most compelling songs from the album. She seems a little nervous, which is understandable given its the first show since her album release.
Rosie’s voice is unlike any others in the Irish music scene at the moment and can summon feelings of nostalgia on mere utterance. Its simultaneously familiar and brand new. As one of the tracks with the most lush production on the album, the band have their work cut out for them to recreate the soundscapes that are so prevalent on 7 and they almost achieve it, but its Rosie’s captivating voice that carries the song. This is also evident on Bare, the latter end of which allows Rosie’s vocal to soar and showcase its transcendental qualities.
It’s after the second track Orchid when she addresses the audience for the first time, with a tentative hello, “It’s cold outside isn’t it?” as she tunes her guitar. She addresses her mother who’s in the audience, having travelled from Co. Down to be there, before she rings the opening chords of What You’ve Been Looking For. The songs with the barest instrumentation such as this and Awake Me are exquisite; it’s a joy to behold Rosie singing them as they were written in their rawest form.
It’s the kind of gig that talking is berated at. At one stage, somebody knocks over a bottle and six people shoot daggers at the offender, who sheepishly and mutely straightens the bottle.
Human is a sure highlight, as is the stunning Your Love Is Holy. However, Carney very much saves the best until last, with Thousand, which features Lisa Hannigan on the album. Written about her grandmother’s struggle with dementia, she dedicates the song to her own mother and its one of the most endearing moments of the show.
The end of the set is met with a cacophony of applause, and one thing is clear; Rosie is on the brink of becoming one of Ireland’s most compelling artists, and the coming months of promo for her album will only see her develop and evolve even more. We can’t wait to see where 2019 takes her.