Finn Conaty.

The ideas man

Finn Conaty is pushing boundaries with his new music.

You’re not likely to hear Finn Conaty on the radio. It’s something the Celt tentatively broaches and he happily embraces.

“Good, I don’t want to be radio friendly,” says Finn.

It’s all the more reason to go along to the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday to hear him live for his home-coming-of-sorts gig. He sees himself as “half-Dublin half-Cavan” - his father Tom is from Ballyhaise, and the family still have a house in Crossdoney.

The gig is set to launch his eponymously titled debut - a creation far removed from the usual singer-songwriter fare, and to this ear, superior.

From the brooding ‘An Intro Song’ to the gorgeous ‘Moonlit River’, you’ve no idea what will come next, invariably its something equally as inventive as the previous song with high points including my ‘Spook in the Wheel’, and ‘Game You’ll Never Win’.

A gifted musician with a classical background having learned piano and cello in his youth, however it wasn’t until he picked up his guitar that he felt a musically free.

“It's amazing but not very creative,” he says of classical music. “It's very much play the notes as written, I felt that stifled what I wanted to do musically and be creative.

“Now I’m rediscovering the piano and cello, but I'm doing it my own way.”

He’s happy to talk musical influences crediting his westerns loving grandfather for getting him into country and folk music; his Dad for introducing him to the singer-songwriters like Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young and Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac.

“The first song I learned on the guitar was Albatross and that shaped the way I played the guitar,” he adds

All very conventional so far, but then he’s also into Indian music (he meditates and does yoga) and German band Popol Vuh (no, me neither) and his favourite band The Grateful Dead.

“I try not to discriminate about what music I listen to - I try to be very open minded and listen to as much music to challenge the way I make music.”

His open mindedness is due to his eagerness to avoid repetition and predictability; and instead be authentically creative. “They [artists] can get stuck in a particular way of doing things and they can’t get themselves out of that way of doing it. And then they produce the same thing over and over again which is not what I'm interested in.

“It's very important to be able to remove things you are doing and not get stuck into a particular way of writing. That happens to me where I'm writing and I can hear almost like the same thing I did [before]. I never want to do that, so I just constantly try to remove that from my brain.”

Where he believes he has best nailed his ideas is a song called ‘First of November’ where “the drums never settle”.

He wants to emulate the way his beloved Grateful Dead create music “that requires multiple listens for people to understand it or appreciate it, and it’s not instantaneous.”

Finn Conaty will give the first half of his Town Hall gig at 6pm this Saturday to acoustic versions of his original songs before a band join him for a host of covers: “We have them done in a pretty cool way.”