Taliesin Single Release
Sean Barna, CrushnPain (solo)
1811 14th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Humble Fire has been creating euphoric art-rock in D.C. since the summer of 2012. Danceable drums, melodic basslines, southern-fried psych guitar, and delicate, earnest vocals combine to form tracks ranging from melancholic dream pop to cathartic dance rock. They play like their lives depend on it, making audiences feel they are witnessing something crucial. Humble Fire self-released their debut album "The Great Resolve" in December 2013.
Seán Barna is a singer, songwriter, and drummer living in Washington, D.C. His debut EP, Cutter Street, is an urgent and powerful collection of songs recorded at The Fortress in Downtown Los Angeles in late-2013 and early-2014, while Seán was jobless and living on his friend's couch. He is currently in pre-production for his followup EP, Assassins, due out in early 2015.
(Excerpted from "Our Barroom Bard," a short essay by John Marotta) It's late-July in Washington, D.C., and Seán Barna appears from the shadow of the staging area into a room that smells of cheap canned beer and sweat. Though he's been disappearing for years on stages like these, as well as in Broadway touring pits, it's been almost exclusively as a drummer. Today he stands alone, acoustic guitar hanging high from his neck, visiting from Los Angeles to celebrate his birthday with a performance in front of an audience made mostly of friends, former lovers, and some family. He opens his set by reciting a spoken word poem over a drone-like finger picking guitar pattern, recounting a love lost to the streets of L.A.:
"If I could stop just one heart from breaking, maybe I could save my own and feel better about the bottles in the shower, and the whiskey on the mattress, and such breathless encounters of love."
From this unexpected, haunting intro, he moves to several songs that further explore the fluids and failures of this recently deceased relationship, occasionally pausing mid-song to demand that the audience come closer to him. The urgency in his voice reveals a man desperately vulnerable. Yet, with unadulterated honesty, he displays a keen self-awareness. The last ten minutes of the show are palpably transcendent, leaving the audience transfixed.
By combining lyrics that employ such pure and brave introspection with a silk-tinged but jagged voice, Barna takes the singer-songwriter tradition of diary-drawn lyrics to a new and unique place, and his songs transmute entrenched heartache into hymns of healing for the disconsolate.