Blake’s Fortune is the nom de plume of a young singer-songwriter from Dublin. His real name is John Lennon which, you have to admit, is something of a hostage to fortune for a man in his position. He’s been around a while, previously working as a member of Pina Kollars’ band but Hello World is his solo debut. In the modern fashion it is primarily released as a download but there is a limited edition of a hundred physical copies.
“The modern fashion” is something that struck me as I first listened to this record for it’s the first time I’ve really noticed neologisms in someone’s writing. The refrain of ‘Molly’, for example, ends with the phrase “take me with” and ‘Going Slow’ mentions texting where a few decades ago the talk would have been about telephone calls. As John says in ‘Disconnected’ “It ain’t real until it’s posted”. It’s funny what you pick up on.
Hello World is inspired by a road trip around the US north-west although the only specific reference is in ‘Point Reyes’ – that’s it on the cover. The album is thoughtful and reflective and it has something of a laid-back Americana vibe but nothing like the west coast acoustic rock sound you might have expected. John plays guitars including slide, synthesisers and percussion and it is the synths that provide the foundation for the songs. He’s supported on bass by Dave Buttner and Damien Walsh, who lends a hand on other instruments, and with occasional fiddle from Eileen O’Driscoll, clarinet from Sarah Gallagher and banjo from Lily Gems but it’s all very restrained. A couple of times John gets behind the drum kit and rocks it up a bit – ‘Going Slow’ and ‘Heart’s Roulette’ are good examples – but not enough to disturb the flow and that’s a good thing because the instrumental style is what really makes Hello World what it is. And what it is a very fine debut album.
Artist’s website: http://www.blakesfortune.com/
‘Hiatus’ – the opening track: