Foy Vance’s ‘Regarding the Joy of Nothing Tour 2023’ comes to Beaver Creek

Foy Vance will be bringing his underground sounds from Northern Ireland to the Vilar stage Sept. 21.
Sarah Barlow and Stephen-Schofield/Courtesy photo
If you go…
  • What: Foy Vance ‘Regarding the Joy of Nothing Tour 2023’ with special guest Bonnie Bishop
  • When: 7 p.m. Sept. 21
  • Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center
  • Tickets: Tickets: $150 for all six remaining shows, plus a free drink at each show; $250 for the VIP Access Pass; single ticket $35 ($40 day-of)
  • This show is for you if you also love: Ben Howard, Ray LaMontagne, Damien Rice, David Gray, Amos Lee, Nathaniel Rateliff
More info:

Foy Vance has a deep-rooted sound based in the Southern U.S., even though he’s from Northern Ireland. Thursday, he performs at Vilar Performing Arts Center’s second Underground Sound Series concert as part of his ‘Regarding the Joy of Nothing Tour 2023.’

Vance originally recorded “Joy of Nothing” in 2003 on Ireland’s west coast. He describes his Irish influence as a creative outlet that naturally imprinted itself upon him. As his second album, “Joy of Nothing” gained critical acclaim, winning the Northern Ireland Music Prize. It features Ed Sheeran on the track “Guiding Light,” as well as Bonnie Raitt on “You And I.”

“Making ‘Joy of Nothing’ marked a turning point in my life both personally and creatively. It was a freeing record to create, and I was experiencing newfound freedom in my personal life,” Vance said. “Everything about that time redefined my route forward, and a decade later that felt worth celebrating and releasing some previously unreleased songs from that period.”

The album’s anniversary edition includes three songs he didn’t originally include —  but says he probably should have: “Tigers,” “Concerning the Horizon” and “Aberfeldy.”

“I liked them enough at the time, and now I realize they are relevant to the lifespan of the album, but perhaps I didn’t know where to place them at the time. In fact, I’m still not sure where they would go, other than at the end, as they are now. ‘Concerning the Horizon’ is a nod to my past. ‘Aberfeldy’ is a nod to the present, and ‘Tigers’ regards a look into the future,” he said.

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The album contrasts his debut record, “Hope,” which resulted in him losing all but hope.

“I was failing to see the point in releasing another album. I figured I would just play live until I couldn’t anymore. Nothing felt worth talking about. Then a penny dropped, and ‘(Joy of) Nothing’ actually did feel worth talking about and singing about and writing about and figuring out. Nothing went from being the absence of something to being pregnant with everything,” he said.

In this vein, Vance’s songwriting seems to come about by not thinking about it, while still remaining open to inspiration.

“Everything and anything but appears to inspire thoughts, ideas, melodies, couplets or cadence or whatever. I suppose it is fair to say nature is the most inspiring. It has a glorious lack of human intent and feels so rich with unmined wisdoms, like when you hear people speaking a language you don’t understand but can’t help but feel an influence of some kind,” he said.

Though other musicians he has worked or toured with, including Alicia Keys, Keith Urban, Snow Patrol and even Elton John, may influence him subconsciously, he said he tries not to think about that, either.

“I try to influence that process as little as humanly possible myself, so thinking about how anyone else would approach it is the furthest thing from my mind. When songs are coming, I try to keep out of the way and just listen as best I can,” adding that, for the record, whomever he’s playing with — and working with on production — do influence the sound.

That comes through in the form of Sheeran, who signed Vance as his second artist to Gingerbread Man Records, a label division within Atlantic Records. Elton John was the executive producer on Vance’s first album with the label, “The Wild Swan,” released in 2016.

“Ed is a force of nature. The only thing I have come to expect from working with him is good energy —always pressing forward and always with an aim to do the right thing,” he said.

This year, Vance was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics alongside co-writer Sheeran and producer Max Martin for Sheeran’s “A Beautiful Game,” featured on the hit Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso.” Sheeran was a fan of the show, and Vance had heard rave reviews about it from friends. 

“We knew we had to write something as universal as football itself and something that drew on the highs and lows of being passionate. The song came naturally. No cesarean section was required,” he said.

In 2019, he released two companion albums, “From Muscle Shoals” and “To Memphis.” Additionally, he has co-written songs for Sheeran’s 2017 album, “Divide,” and Sam Smith’s title track on “Gloria,” and collaborated with other well-known musicians. His latest album, aside from the anniversary release of “Joy of Nothing,” in 2021 (“Signs of Life”) showcases his talent as a songwriter.

His VPAC show will feature songs from “Joy of Nothing,” as well as other albums, but he’s never sure where shows will go: “I plan to be as surprised as (the audience is),” he said. “I am looking forward to it. It is never lost on me that people make so many plans, booking hotels, making flights, organizing babysitters, long drives, etc., all so I can stand there and lose myself in music with them for a couple of hours. I have arguably the best job in the world.”

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