Irish singer/songwriter Homer Crane is the kind of musician that pulls me right into his songs. He is a storytelling singer with a deep whiskey-coated voice that just wraps itself around you like a warm friendly hug. I could listen to him sing for hours.
He has quite a collection of songs on SoundCloud and YouTube and as we have been chatting for a while, it seemed the perfect time to properly introduce this interesting singer. It’s hard to classify his style because depending on the sound, it could be folk, country, rock, indie or a mix of several.
“Australia” was one of the first songs to catch my ear. The simple melody and honest storytelling is delightful. It is upbeat and fun.
“Little Hush” is almost a lullaby, with its sing-song melody and lilting tempo. Various instruments provide a gentle cacophony of exquisite sounds.
“Chasing The Dragon” starts out gentle then gets rough mid-song — just like a thunderous dragon passing through — before gaining an even keel again.
“Cobwebs and Goblins” sounds straight out of a spaghetti western — and it is simply wonderful.
Here is our conversation:
How long have you been playing guitar (and other instruments) and writing songs?
My first love was drums. Started beating pots and pans at the age of 4 and I have been playing them for 21 years now. I got my first guitar at the age of 10, got two months of lessons and my teacher said that was enough! I still play the same guitar from years back.
So you were a natural on the guitar?
When I first got it, I used to tune it to an open chord. The strumming was easy due to the drums, I guess, but I did need the two months lessons to learn chords and what not. I’m more of a rhythm guitarist and folky finger-picking kinda player. The few lead riffs on my songs are improvised mostly. Jimi Hendrix, I ain’t!
Haha, either way, the style works for you. When did you start writing songs?
I started writing songs when I was 6. I tried putting words to what I was playing on the piano.
Wow. You must have a huge collection of songs by now.
Ya lots. It’s just a matter of recording the ones that are not horrendous!
Well, I suppose not every song is meant to see daylight. I really enjoy all the ones I’ve heard so far. I think my top favorites are “Little Hush” and “Australia.”
In fact, I would have put more stuff out there, but a lot of things happened over the last 5 years and I suppose I lost interest in making music. It is just coming back slowly now.
I’m glad you like those tracks, thank you. It’s funny you said “Australia” because I just sat in front of my mike and improvised. Recalled my trip there when I was 4 and started singing. True story!
That’s neat! True stories make the best songs sometimes. I’m glad your interest in music has returned. I really enjoy your voice.
Thanks, Rebecca. I worked on some new music since we last spoke. I wanted to have it up by today, but it’s looking like it will be later due to restricted time and what have you!
No worries. It’s something nice to look forward to. Who are your musical influences?
My sister introduced me to The Doors when I was 13. That set the bar for me really. Other 60s bands like Love and The Velvet Underground were and still are daily listening material. I love jazz, classical and Irish trad like Kila. At the moment I listen to a band called Beirut quite a bit. Also a guy called Joe Steer has had a big influence on my songwriting. He used to play in Broadcast 2000. I could go all day! I still listen to the Distillers, Blink 182, Green Day, NOFX …. but right now, that’s all that comes to mind.
A nice variety. You live in Kerry, Ireland — have you always lived there and what is it like? How is the music scene?
Ya, I live here for now. I have been looking for a new place for the last four months. It’s hard to find a house when you’re single. Need recording space and my dog — who is nearly as big as me — needs to fit in!
I left school at 16, moved to Cork a week later and stayed in many different places up there on and off for four years. I came back to Listowel in 2008, met someone and went through another five houses with my ex. So yes, now I’m looking to move on from Listowel again. Either abroad or back to a city.
Haha, lol! Now you record in a shed? Explain that …
Ya, right … A few of my tracks were recorded in different houses and cities over the years, but when I couldn’t record in a semi-detached house (because I’m a kind neighbour), I used to haul my equipment back to a shed that’s near my folks property.
It used to be a blacksmith’s workshop way back, so it’s a stonewall shed with bad acoustics, but it’s an empty space that I’ve been happy to use when there’s nowhere else to do what I do (without bothering neighbours, of course).
And this is how you are recording now? What kind of set up do you use?
At the moment, ya. I tried using Abelton on my laptop recently, but it was a bit tedious, so I went back to my 16 track. My set up (in every house I have lived in) is drums, two acoustic guitars, one electric guitar, a xylophone, harmonicas, ukulele, LOTS of percussion instruments and a piano. Wherever I live, I set them up in a circle in a room with my 16 track as the focal point and i just let what happens, happen. It’s fun. Some day though, I’d love to master the material that I produce, just to give the volume an extra kick. So ya, that’s how I do things!
A true one man band! How often do you do shows?
Haha! I gig maybe every second week, but it’s just covers in pubs really. I play drums with one band and guitar/vox as a solo act. It pays the bills! I’ve done a lot of gigs where it’s all original music, but Kerry is not really the best place to get ahead. I opened for a band called The Raglans and a guy called Paddy Casey on another occasion . They are renowned over here in Ireland. I’ve played all over Ireland in different bands. I just need to get back on the horse and move to a city to really push it.
Q: So the music scene isn’t really there in Kerry?
There’s a few good spots to play. In Listowel, for example, we have John B. Keane’s Pub and Mike the Pies. @MikethePies is the best place for locals to showcase their stuff. People like Paddy Casey, Mick Flannery, Damien Dempsey and The Raglans have played there. Outside of Other Voices in Dingle, Kerry isn’t consistent enough when it comes to bringing a crowd in. I’ve had moments here when i was sure everything would take off, but it’s very sporadic.
So when you do covers, what kind of artists do you do?
A bit of everything to be honest. The Kinks, Amy McDonald, Paolo Nutini, Kings of Leon, etc. Whatever new songs are out at the time, I try to make them my own. The usual pub tunes, really!
Sounds like a fun show. How are the audiences?
Always pretty busy in fairness.
So if you were to move to another town, where do you have in mind?
Cork or Galway. I’m not too fond of Dublin, but I’d gladly move to any town/city/country if I had a concrete opportunity to really push and get to work.
Do you have a regular day job?
No, just odd jobs. I deliver furniture when my father needs a hand. Other than that, I throw on a sneaky bet or two on the football. My days are pretty much filled with writing music, writing ideas for screenplays/books and walking my dog. Living the dream!
Ah, screenplays and books … You have lots of creative ideas then …
It’s an output! John B. Keane is a distant relative of mine, so I suppose writing is in the blood!
There you go … could be! Have you performed outside of Ireland before?
Nothing official no, just sing songs on holidays!
Have you looked into You Bloom and other opportunities like that?
I’ve not heard of that, but I will look it up for sure. I took a break from music for a long time for personal reasons so I never really pursued much. I have just got back into it recently because I love to play.
You Bloom is great exposure for Irish artists. Both The Klares and Foreign Affairs NI have been to their conference/festival in Los Angeles. They also hold them in Dublin: http://www.youbloom.com/ Have a look, it might be something to help you build. @youbloom too.
I will do, thanks Rebecca!
What are your goals? Where do you want to see yourself?
Well, I’d like to make a comfortable living off of music. I also would like to do soundtrack work for movies or TV sometime. I’ve never been interested in fame, just making a living and making people who like my music happy. I’m going to give it my all to achieve it.
Homer Crane is on Twitter as @homercrane1, on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/homercrane and YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-CVjgwQDZ7PB4Bxpyv8BGQ.