Review by Bobby Green
The wondrous beauty of Duke Specials creative muse can sometimes bring a man to tears with its genius. But to also be gifted with a voice so delicious there could have been no other life for him but to do what he does. And with Hallow we have Duke focus his creative spark, dare I say fire, entirely on the poetry of Belfast poet Michael Longley. The seemingly effortless manor in which Duke translates these poems frames an already alluring work of beauty and delivers them with such a sweet kiss it’s impossible not to fall in love with them.
Duke has set up a website called Advocate (www.advocateduke.com) where fans can pre-order the album in their preferred format: CD, vinyl or digital download. There will be a limited run of exclusive signed and numbered CD and vinyl releases which are only available on pre-order.
Every pre-order on all formats will include a special ADVOCATE PASS which will give you access to exclusive content online through the Advocate website. This will range from behind-the-scenes videos of the recording process and video messages from Duke on how the album is progressing, to snippets of demos and exclusive previews of Hallow.
Fans can see ‘Hallow’ being performed live on Duke Special’s October tour, commissioned by The Strollers Touring Network and he has just added new dates in February 2018 in Belfast, London & Dublin. (Dates and venues below. Check venue websites for ticket details.)
Duke says, ‘I genuinely hope that these songs will speak to you, inspire, comfort, challenge, provoke, make you cry, make you smile, make you wonder and all the things that good art should do.’
Duke Special is an artist to be celebrated in todays creative world where we are awash with the mundane. Where the creative genius behind the music is the units shifted and not the art itself. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good campaign, and clever marketing today is itself at best artistic in its delivery. But when you have truly great art, the glittery shine from everything else on offer becomes dull reflections of just ‘stuff’ we’ve been sold before.
Hallow is out now and Duke Special is on Tour promoting it.
Weds 25th October Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick.
Thurs 26th October Solstice Arts Centre, Navan.
Fri 27th October Riverbank Arts Centre, Kildare.
Sat 28th October The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny.
Sun 29th October Siamsa Tíre, Tralee.
Thurs 22nd February Bush Hall, London
Fri 23rd February Empire Music Hall, Belfast
Sat 24th February Unitarian Church, Dublin