Ronan Kealy’s evolution as an artist has been a rare delight to behold. The Co. Kerry singer-songwriter known as Junior Brother has all but single-handedly upended the (granted, somewhat kneejerk) conception of experimental folk on these shores.
It’s a trajectory, the power of which shines searingly through new single ‘No Country For Young Men’. The follow-up to last October’s inspired ‘Life’s New Haircut’, it’s a masterfully mesmeric effort that explores the culture shock – and straight-up experiential doom – of Kealy’s relocation to the capital.
“I wrote this song in response to the tangible feeling of dread and anxiety I felt across Dublin city during my first few months living there,” revealed Kealy. “Increasingly hostile and violent evictions, police complicity in such acts, the housing crisis in general, among other factors seemed to cultivate a distrust of authority, particularly in the youth of the country.”
“The day after a police-backed violent eviction of peaceful protestors from an abandoned house in North Frederick Street, Dublin,” he added. “I stood with many others my age outside the empty house, and remarked upon seeing the photograph of the balaclava’d police next to the thugs dressed in all black that you couldn’t tell the goons from the guards.”
“I joined the dots between this line of inquiry and the expectations of masculinity in society, which in turn led me around to posit the notion that a better society does not come quick, and before things change, this future must “wait like a woman”, in hope and frustration.”
Accompanying the single is a wonderfully surreal video courtesy of Emma Smith. Watch it below and buy the single on vinyl here.
Junior Brother plays the following Irish shows over the next couple of months:
16 April – Spirit Store, Dundalk
22 April – Connolly’s Of Leap, Cork
23 April – Seachurch, Ballycotton
05 May – Button Factory, Dublin
14 May – Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick
10 June – De Barra’s, Clonakilty