Devon Welsh

SATURDAY 18TH APRIL 2020

19.30 - 23.00

18+

Can music make you feel less alone? Can it foster intimacy from afar? In his stark songs, which are like
sonic poems, the Canadian artist Devon Welsh has mined such questions with rigor, vulnerability, and
grace. From 2010 to present, his body of work has pushed language to the fore in service of closing the
space between artist and listener, prizing human connection above all.
With his duo Majical Cloudz, Welsh found a huge audience for that vision: he released two
critically-acclaimed LPs with Matador Records, and went from DIY house-show tours to playing arenas
with Lorde. Moreover, Welsh created life-affirming moments: on-stage, he looked people in the
eye—blurring the line between music and performance art—and could bewilder listeners or make them
cry. But after disbanding Majical Cloudz in 2016, Welsh retreated to take stock of his purpose as an artist.
He shifted his relationship with music. His solo album, Dream Songs, arrived in 2018, rescaling the
pulsing heart of his work with arresting orchestral arrangements.
In the wake of Dream Songs, Welsh has taken stock once again. Leaving his longtime home of Montreal,
the Ontario-born artist moved to rural Wisconsin to recalibrate still. Recording in a basement studio and
embracing a quieter, simpler life, he worked on his emotional health through meditation and therapy. His
newest music is in ways a product of those introspective focuses.
Welsh’s second solo album is called True Love, and it strengthens the poetry, illumination, and appealing
minimalism of his best work. Working more fluidly and intuitively than before, Welsh reflects powerfully
on the ambiguous emotional spaces around love—romantic, platonic, internal; how love can be a game, a
daydream, a paradise, or horror. Flipping the fantasy of “true love” that prevails through pop culture,
Welsh set out to articulate the human heart from realer angles and depths: True Love is instead an
honoring and an investigation of “true love”’s complexities. “A lot of the songs are about the difficulties
and grey areas around love—about everything that can go wrong or get complicated about loving
somebody,” Welsh says. “They’re about actual love.”
“As you get older, love becomes so much stranger than the childhood fantasy versions of yearning and
desire,” Welsh says. “Romance can be such a scary thing because there’s so much trust involved—sitting
with uncertainties and reservations, taking a longer look at emotions, trying to understand them. But
there’s a deepening of love, which is the energy that holds people together. There are so many layers, and
there’s so much more love everywhere.”
These nuances are broached stunningly within the rhythmic wordplay of “Somebody Loves You,” on
which Welsh sings out to a beloved but estranged friend and wonders how they’re doing. “Dreamers,”
inspired by two close friends, is a spirited ode to dreamers, to the young fantasies and self-doubts that
come with believing with your whole being in the power of music. The sparkling, acoustic “Grace”—the
very rare Welsh song performed on guitar—feels like a strummed twin to “Dreamers,” like a lovely
product of such childlike optimism, an unmoored jolt of air.
Through the process of True Love, Welsh found himself reflecting on our culture’s rigid notions of
manhood and masculinity, and how they’re implicated in love of all kinds. “The male stereotype is that
you’re not supposed to cry, you’re supposed to be strong and confident and powerful,” he says. “That

feeds into a masculine identity where you can’t look inward and figure out: Who am I that’s distinct from
that? Those stereotypes prevent people from understanding how they can relate to others from an
authentic place—instead of how they feel they’re supposed to be operating.” The novelistic piano-ballad
opener “Uniform” explores this directly and solemnly, paying homage to Welsh’s stepfather and
grandfather, whom he calls his heroes and role models. But it is perhaps the emotionality and
vulnerability of Welsh’s idiosyncratic style that unravels such archetypes most.
There was a novelty to Welsh’s recording process for True Love, which was an overwhelmingly solitary
one. Whereas Majical Cloudz and Dream Songs were distinct collaborations, Welsh worked on his new
music primarily alone. (It was mixed by Austin Tufts, and features additional synths and sound processing
from Nick Schofield and Kyle Jukka.) That self-contained principle extends to how Welsh is continuing
to release music now: removed of the label system, towards an autonomous approach, stemming from his
own comfort zone. “Making music is a personal thing for me,” Welsh says. “Ideally it is a reflection of
something intimate.”
It’s no surprise, then, that True Love’s breezy and especially intimate-sounding “System” is a love song to
the all-consuming powers that its title evokes—a three-minute piece of satire as systemic critique as
indie-pop tune, “feeling totally submitted to the destiny that these massive forces have on you.” With his
characteristic openness, Welsh admits that the fun-house echo chamber of being an artist online had
become wearying in Majical Cloudz. He struggled with a loss of identity, and it left him with a deep
skepticism towards the music industry. “I had a total nervous breakdown with respect to being a
musician,” Welsh says. “The headspace of that world kind of burned me out.”
But he calls his move into self-releasing more natural and emboldening. “There’s no script for how to do
things now,” Welsh says. “I’m just trying to express things that feel intimate and worthwhile, but leaving
it a little bit with a question mark.” In an era of widespread burnout, it feels radical and hopeful to see an
artist reckon with these realities and find a personal path forward—and in his songs, a disarmingly clear sense of self


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Hug & Pint

171 Great Western Road
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
United Kingdom
G4 9AH

Venue Details



WED 11 DEC 2019
Vetiver
Mono, GlasgowDoors 8pm£12.00
FRI 13 DEC 2019
Jesse Marchant
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£9.00
Dreadzone
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 7pm£17.50
SAT 14 DEC 2019
De Rosa - 'Ten Years of Prevention'
CCA, Glasgow19:00£12.50
Everybody Loves Lizzo (Boosterhooch + Babestation)
Blue Arrow Club, Glasgow23.00£5.00
The Field
Hug & Pint, GlasgowDoors 7.30pm£15.00
Roddy Woomble
Blue Arrow Club, GlasgowDoors 7:30pm£17.50
SUN 15 DEC 2019
Blue Hawaii
Hug & Pint, GlasgowDoors 19:30£8.00
Roddy Woomble
Blue Arrow Club, GlasgowDoors 7:30pm£17.50
TUE 17 DEC 2019
Pick a Piper
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£7.50
FRI 20 DEC 2019
Bombskare: 40 Years of Two-Tone
Oran Mor, Glasgow19:30£16.50
SUN 22 DEC 2019
Lucid Hound + Closet Organ & Black Cat Revue
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£5.00
SAT 4 JAN 2020
Desperate Dan
Blue Arrow Club, Glasgow19.30£10.00
WED 15 JAN 2020
Slaughter Beach, Dog
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£12.00
FRI 17 JAN 2020
Celtic Connections: The Rezillos
Oran Mor, GlasgowDoors 7.00pm£19.00
SAT 18 JAN 2020
Peggy Seeger with Calum & Neill MacColl
Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow7.30 p.m. £16.00
SUN 19 JAN 2020
Russell Stewart
Blue Arrow Club, Glasgow19.30cancelled
THU 23 JAN 2020
Celtic Connections: Rambler (fka Caitlin Buchanan)
Blue Arrow Club, Glasgow19.30£10.00
Wandering Hearts
Oran Mor, GlasgowDoors 7:30pm£16.00
FRI 24 JAN 2020
Celtic Connections: From Night til Morning (LNFG)
Blue Arrow Club, Glasgow19.30£15.00
SAT 25 JAN 2020
The National Whisky Festival 2020
SWG3, Glasgow£35.00
Celtic Connections : Jeff Parker + The New Breed
Blue Arrow Club, GlasgowDoors 7.30pm£17.50
SUN 26 JAN 2020
Celtic Connections: Robyn Hitchcock
Drygate, Glasgow19.00£16.00
MON 27 JAN 2020
Kiwi Jr
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£7.00
TUE 28 JAN 2020
Lower Dens
Blue Arrow Club, Glasgow19.30£12.50
THU 30 JAN 2020
Wire
G2 (The Garage), Glasgow19.00£17.50
Awkward Family Portraits
Sneaky Pete's, EdinburghDoors 7.30pm£10.00
Michael Head + The Red Elastic Band
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 7.30pm£23.00
SUN 2 FEB 2020
Goat Roper Rodeo Band
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£12.50
MON 3 FEB 2020
And So I Watch You From Afar: Jettison
Saint Luke's, GlasgowDoors 19:00£18.00
WED 5 FEB 2020
Peaness
Hug & Pint, GlasgowDoors 19:30£8.00