Inventive Galway folk-pop artist Tracy Bruen’s latest ‘Waiting’ is very much embedded in the soulful west coast of our country, an ode to the personal that carries with it the city’s melancholy winter feel. Signed to Strange Brew, a label owned and operated by Gugai, who also runs the city’s iconic venue Roisin Dubh, Bruen is at the heart of the scene.

‘Waiting’ is the follow up to debut record ‘Mirror’, and is heavily tinged with grief, but also a beautiful, flowing record full of clever twists and turns – a considered return that’s anchored close to Bruen’s soul. It’s taken time to create, and is better for it.

“I had much more of an idea of how this album was going to flow,” Bruen tells us. “Because of the pandemic, and a lot of forced time to sit with the record, it changed. If I had released it in 2020, the original plan, it would have been a very different album. Instead, there were songs written for the album through the pandemic that give it a flow. Other songs didn’t make it, because stylistically they didn’t work. As a band, we made decisions to remove bands that would break that flow. I hadn’t considered that as much with the first album.”

“I also did a lot of work in production with my recording engineer and producer, developing little soundscapes to link songs and things like that. I feel like ‘Waiting’ has a much smoother flow, if that makes sense. It’s a very personal album, dealing with a lot of stuff that I’ve gone through, and I think that’s reflected in it. ‘Waiting’ is also an expression of how much I’ve relied on the people and the love I have in my life. I work through aspects of grief, but it’s also about my husband, and the strong women in my life. There’s so much love that works its way through alongside the sadness.”

“The result, for me, is a melancholy, a deep melancholy, and a grief. I don’t know what other people are going to take from the record, but I hope they feel the hope that is in it, as well. It was so cathartic for me to write it, and I feel the uplifting aspect of the songs.”

There’s a natural ebb and flow to the record, then, that colours in shades of darkness and light.

“I’ve always gravitated towards a juxtaposition of melody and theme,” Bruen explains, “and in some of the songs there’s a very upbeat feeling, but when you scratch beneath the surface, the subject matter is darker or sadder. I’m fascinated by that, I listen to a lot of artists who do that.”

As for the live performance of ‘Waiting’, most of the record’s new angles are all set to be unveiled, though Bruen admits “there’s one song I’m not ready to play live yet. It’s very personal, the last song on the album. I have road tested nearly all the songs over the last year or so, but for people who’ve not followed us extremely closely, at least 50% of the album will be new.”

“I’m so lucky that my band are so talented, creative and hard-working,” she continues. “We spend an awful lot of time working on arrangements for the live shows, and we’re having a lot of fun with that. There’s a big cross over for me between acting, which I’ve done since I was really young, and music. I have a comfort level on stage, I really enjoy performance, and getting lost in a song. But not so much that I forget there’s an audience there! The performance element of playing is very much a big thing for me.” After years of actual waiting, then, performing ‘Waiting’ on stage could prove Bruen’s ultimate catharsis. 


Write A Comment