Fergus McKay and his renegade band, Nothing Concrete have broken free of the rattrap and have set up something between a travelling funfair and a healthy living commune in the remote regions of the foothills of the Pyrenees. Without televisions, growing their own crops and raising their children as well as being a fully-fledged touring and recording entity, it’s the kind of lifestyle many dream of but few take the plunge and actually commit to. If there’s any one thing to take away from Fergus’ doctrine for living it should be that you should always follow your dreams, however preposterous they may seem.
If you think their lifestyle is unconventional, their music is going to cause you to make a cup of tea and have a long sit down. If you have a mental and audio image between your ears of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Billy Bragg and The Waterboys enjoying a hoedown down the pub on St Patrick’s Day (or cultural equivalent), you’d be on the right track…although you still wouldn’t have factored in the all-female tap-dancing brass section. No typos or exaggeration, Fergus and Nothing Concrete are everything and the kitchen sink, folksy and jazzy without being twee or pious; world without being routed in any particular culture; cabaret without being pure novelty. This, for all its bells and whistles, is music stripped down to “real” musical instruments and the ancient art of storytelling to music. The lead track to their forthcoming album is Old Black Crow, a ribald tale of vagabonds told from the crow’s perspective.