When I first heard the music of Lorkin O'Reilly, I was immediately impressed. There's something casual and straightforward about it, in a way that does not prepare you for the depth and complexity of the lyrical content. The hidden-in-plain-sight lyrical style is a bit reminiscent of Elliott Smith: there is no pretense, there is just emotion and melody and the sound of an acoustic guitar. That's not all, mind you, there are songs in this collection that are fleshed out with a full, albeit sparse, roots band, but all of it extends from that folky songwriter persona — with a pedigree that stretches from Bon Iver all the way to Damien Jurado.
But Lorkin seems to already have a strong hold on his own unique sensibility, at what seems like an oddly young age to exude such confidence and understated gravitas. From a strictly technical perspective, the influences here echo the classic countrified open tunings of artists like Bert Jansch, Nike Drake, and Dick Gaughan, and perhaps even my personal favorite Chris Whitley; however, the brooding reflections and personal poetry evident in the lyrics of Lorkin O'Reilly absolutely set him apart from the lofty indolence of a song like "Pink Moon" — he manages to be both modern and timeless with the same stroke of a pen.
Since immigrating to the United States from Scotland in 2012, Lorkin O’Reilly has been making a name for himself as an exciting new songwriting talent. His music explores personal reality in a way that feels indistinguishable from shared experience — his purgatory between childhood and adulthood is our own; his search for identity and home expounds a universal struggle to find comfort, solitude, and spiritual kinship.
On his latest release "Marriage Material," O'Reilly delivers a broad collection of songs that run the gamut from restless love to bittersweet nostalgia, as we solemnize the passage of time with a combination of elliptic observation and sanguine inference. Acoustic guitar, the occasional banjo track, and an assortment of atmospheric accompaniments serve as supple backdrop for a dry, unassuming vocal performance that positively drips with guarded emotional ferment. "Still You" features a finger-style acoustic guitar that showcases O’Reilly in his most relaxed of wistful incarnations, juxtaposing a deft creative spark with a lazy-bones mindset and the still-raw vestiges of a recently broken heart.
Sophomore release "Marriage Material" — out now on Team Love — further solidifies O'Reilly's reputation for gritty, multifarious folk music dispatched with a light touch and the unmistakable stamp of an old soul.