Every generation has its crop of one-of-a-kind voices, and Ireland’s most recent vocal merchant of soul – Hozier – is bringing his unique sound to El Paso on Oct. 31.
Born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, he rose to fame in late 2014 with his smash debut single “Take Me to Church” (which reached No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100), later making his El Paso debut in front of a packed house at the Abraham Chavez Theatre in November 2015.
Hozier’s music soulfully braids the emotional confession of gospel with the contemplative lens of folk and the cathartic power of blues – a kind of overcast take on the music fellow Irishman Van Morrison was known for during his peak in the 1970s.
His lyrics are rife with themes of life after death, the befuddling turmoil of love and religious guilt.
This time around, he’s touring behind the release of his sophomore album “Wasteland Baby!” – his first U.S. Billboard No. 1 album.
Here are five songs – other than “Take Me To Church” – by Hozier that you should know.
“All the fear and the fire of the end of the word happens each time a boy falls in love with a girl.” The overwhelming rush of emotions that come with falling in love have been compared to a lot of things, but the end of the world certainly is apt.
A highly catchy ode to the complicated and sometimes nonsensical game of maintaining and commencing relationships, Hozier juggles “the art of life’s distractions” and “the art of scraping through” all while asking, “would things be easier if there was a right way?”
‘Like Real People Do’
Much like Van Morrison on his masterpiece Astral Weeks, Hozier is most effective in a hushed, pastoral setting, evoking a specific feeling with his words, guitar and voice as opposed to merely spelling out his emotions.
Here he evokes a quiet wooded glen and makes mention of his lover “pulling him from the earth” – perhaps implying that he is singing from beyond the grave. He reposes: “I will not ask you where you came from…neither should you, honey just put your sweet lips on my lips, we should just kiss like real people do.”
‘Jackie and Wilson’
Possibly Hozier’s hardest rocking track – the kind of track that would spill out of a Black Keys Pandora station – is a fantastic “let’s forget the world and run away together” song that talks about stealing cars, “mid-youth crises,” naming future children, and sitting back and watching the world burn.
Highly rhythm-driven by Hozier’s standards, “Nobody” borders on funk, but elevated by lush production filled with literal bells and whistles. Talking to Apple Music, Hozier said “Nobody” is about “the limitations of love between flawed people. It’s taking into account how flawed this person is and saying, ‘look, it’s the best we have at the moment.’”