2019 is the year of giving the people what they want. Or at least that seems to be the case for soulful Irish crooner Dermot Kennedy. The man finally relented and released a proper version of fan-favorite "For Island Fires and Family." He also released his self-titled debut LP, but we’re here today to talk about "For Island Fires and Family."

Kennedy has spent the past three years playing live shows that double as religious experiences and have earned him a cult-like following, particularly in his native Dublin. Long a standout of these mystifying shows, "For Island Fires and Family" tends to leave audiences slack-jawed and breathless, in states of silence so complete that you can hear your own heart beat.

In a damned near impossible feat, Kennedy has managed to take the emotional rawness and tenderness of his live performances and reproduce it in the studio. "For Island Fires and Family" delivers what fans have been begging for.

Things start out sparsely, soft vocals backed by a few plucks of the guitar as Kennedy creates an intimate and vulnerable landscape over which he intends to pour every last inch of his heart over. Seamlessly mixing together elements of folk, R&B, and electronica, Dermot Kennedy could well be Ireland’s answer to RY-X.

Whatever he is to become, he’s damn good as things currently stand.



Because he’s Irish and writers are inherently looking for shortcuts, Dermot Kennedy was always going to be tethered to Glen Hansard (that’s the guy from Once y’all). But it just so happens that Hansard gave Kennedy’s career a huge lift back in the day. We’ll close today with that story.

While making his Doves & Ravens EP, Kennedy invited Hansard, whom he met by happenstance on the street years earlier, to the studio. While Glen was unable to make it, he did offer Dermot a 10-minute opening set at his sold-out Christmas show.

Kennedy blew everyone’s ass off that night with his performance of “After Rain,” which as of writing has amassed well over 50 million streams, officially launching his career into the stratosphere.

And forever giving a good reason for hack writers like myself to link him and Glen.  

Be sure to listen to Dermot Kennedy debut album and check out his official site for tour dates, 'cause dude is going damn near everywhere this year.


Calvin Paradise is not any one thing. The half-hearted vagabond and forgetful luddite currently resides in Los Angeles and how he spends his time is none of your damned business.