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Making a break for it

Going Out

READY FOR ROAD Castlebar band Powder House launch their debut EP this week. From left: Luke Dunne, Conor O’Shea and Brian McHale. Pic: Isabel Puy

Castlebar three-piece Powder House set to launch their new EP ‘The Predecessor’

Edwin McGreal

After forming in 2016, Castlebar Indie trio Powder House (formerly The Dividing Range) took a break the following year, but a flame still burned.
So, last year, lead vocalist and guitarist Conor O’Shea, bassist Brian McHale and drummer/percussionist Luke Dunne came together again and decided to drive on.
They came together in 2016 over a mutual love for music and a hunger and drive to gig. That hadn’t gone away, and while they each continued to do their own thing musically, there was an itch that needed to be scratched.
So they regrouped in 2019 and changed their name from The Dividing Range to Powder House. Since then they have been on the road, building their stage presence and working on their music.
Powder House have already shared stages with such respected acts as fellow Mayo musician and All-Ireland Champion banjo- and harp-player Lisa Canny and, most recently, acclaimed Irish singer songwriter David Keenan, and they’ve entertained appreciative crowds from both local and national stages.
But an exciting few weeks awaits for this ambitious young band.
They are releasing an EP this Friday, and will officially launch it on Friday, March 20, in Garbo’s in Castlebar.
The three-track EP, titled ‘The Predecessor’, features the songs ‘Is this It’, ‘The River’ and ‘Winter Summer’.
Produced and engineered by Tuam native Mike Connelly, the EP’s soundscape is described as one of light and darkness, ups and downs with a mixture of heartbreak, grief and sorrow, fused with hope for the future.
O’Shea’s distinctive and captivating voice and his thoughtful lyrics paint a picture of the many of the vulnerabilities experienced by the modern-day young Irish man, especially in the west of the country.  
The tempo of the songs fluctuates nicely from slow and almost mellow starts to upbeat and toe-tapping surges, with McHale and Dunne’s quality coming to the fore.
Powder House say they base their sound around a selection of genres that ranges from folk to indie and singer/songwriter, and they cite Hozier, James Taylor, David Gray and Oasis as influences. There’s a definite affinity with Hozier that comes across in the EP whilst the songs still have their own, unique fingerprint.
They have big hopes for 2020 both for their EP and for life on the road, setting their sights on Ireland and further afield for tours.
The trio are in their mid to late 20s, and drummer Luke Dunne says they all share a passion for performing music.
“We are very proud of these songs overall and couldn’t have been happier with how the recording process went, and feel the tracks as a whole best represent the vibe and sound of the band,” Dunne told The Mayo News.
“Our producer, Mike Connelly did a great job in trying to bring this EP to life, and pushed us in the studio to be the best we could be during the recording. The studio can be a daunting environment at times, especially when the red light’s on and the clock is ticking; it definitely helps to have someone who will encourage but also push you to be as focused and efficient as possible.
“Our aim and mission statement as a band is to just record and perform music that we love and if anything else follows after we’ll take it from there. Right now the three of us are very excited and look forward to sharing and performing these songs,” said Dunne.
Watch this space!

Powder House are playing in Garbo’s Live Music Venue, Castlebar, on Friday, March 20, from 9pm, to launch their new EP, ‘The Predecessor’. To find out more, visit the band’s Facebook page.