Irish singer/songwriter Fionn Regan wears his influences on his sleeve, and though it wasn’t easy for me to get into his Nick Drake-esque debut, The End of History, his higher energy, Dylan-esque followup, The Shadow of an Empire, has been on repeat all week around here. Last fall, we raved about (and offered a free MP3 download) of the first single, “Protection Racket,” which I believed to be produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne, Kings of Leon, Laura Marling, etc.) at the time. As it turns out, however, music from the Johns sessions won’t be reaching our ears anytime soon because Regan split with Lost Highway Records and Johns over a disagreement about the recording process.
“There’s so much red tape around the album I made in America,” Regan told the Belfast Telegraph. “I’d have to be a mad man to try and get those recordings back. I’m not even sure who owns them now anyway.”
The Shadow of an Empire came out in Ireland last week (UK: Feb 8, US: March 4), so Regan’s been touring and making the promo rounds in his native country of late, including an inspired performance of the brilliant new jam “Catacombs” on the Late Late Show.