It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.
In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.
Damien Brennan is a young singer/songwriter who grew up in County Down, Northern Ireland and later refined his craft busking and backpacking his way across Italy and Austria.
Below are three of his songs, all of which serve to demonstrate his big voice and big sweeping sound, and particular talent for setting a dramatic romantic mood. All three are strong tunes, but my favorites are Shine and Man on Fire, for the way the swell, crest and soar. Fair warning, Shine will probably get stuck in your head like it did in mine, and you’ll just have to listen to it several times to dislodge it again.
And with that, I turn the floor over to Mr. Brennan, who joins us today to tell us about a favorite book, record and drink.
A Good Read
A book that stands out for me is Dog Man by Martha Sherrill. It’s about a Japanese man, Morie Sawataishi, who risked imprisonment to go live in the snowy mountains of Northern Japan during the second world war in order to save the beautiful and ancient Akita breed from extinction, as all of these dogs were to be handed over to the military in order to make coats from their pelts. It’s about the search for enduring values and the determination to live life on one’s own terms. I love dogs and have two Akitas of my own, so maybe that’s got something to do with it.
A Good Listen
It wasn’t easy picking a favorite album as there are so many from multiple genres that I love, but it has to be Joshua Tree [by] U2. It is one of the most iconic albums of all time, not such an original choice I admit… but there is a very good reason for it having lasted the test of time and that’s the sheer amount of great quality songs in just one album. The majority of ‘iconic’ albums have one or two stand-out-alone songs, but almost all the tracks from Joshua Tree are special for me. I remember as a boy listening to With or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For, [and] Where the Streets Have No Name, and they really left an impression on me. I’ll always find time to listen to this album once in a while.
[Ed note: Full disclosure: I totally had a Joshua Tree-era U2 poster on my wall, so I picked the original video, and OMG look at them, so young and skinny!]
A Good Drink
I’m Irish, so not to be stereotypical or anything but it has to be alcoholic! Morgan Spice with coke and ice on a Friday night watching a movie is as good as it gets. Yup, love the Captain Morgans.