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Brett Dennen and Foy Vance: BFFs take the Stage

The Blue Note can’t handle this bromance


Singer and songwriter Brett Dennen released his fifth studio album, Smoke and Mirrors, in October 2013. The folk frontman took a hiatus from touring to rediscover himself and write the album up in the mountains.

March 6, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST

As Brett Dennen exited the stage in Charlotte, N.C., he grabbed his opening act, Foy Vance, by the arm and asked if he wanted to play a song together. The two hadn’t even known each other for a week, but they got back on stage and played “Moondance” by Van Morrison completely on a whim.

The friendship between these two has been real since the tour began in February. Their music is listed under folk, but a quick listen to their respective albums is proof enough that the two artists have different takes on the genre they both love. Their contrasting sounds and lyrics create a perfect pairing on stage and on the road. The dynamic duo makes their way to Columbia next Thursday.

Brett Dennen & Foy Vance

WHERE: The Blue Note
WHEN: March 13, 8:30 p.m.
COST: $20
CALL: 874-1944

“The fact that they’re so different is so great,” Dennen says about their individual sounds.

Dennen fronts the folk genre and sings popular hits such as “She’s Mine” from his 2006 album So Much More and “Wild Child” off of 2013’s Smoke and Mirrors. Dennen’s uplifting lyrics and utter positivity radiates on stage. His vocals are equally striking as he delivers high-pitched notes and light-hearted and uplifting lyrics.

Dennen says his music is ’70s California folk rock, which is appropriate considering he is from the Golden State. Vance accurately describes it as “sunny” music. Dennen’s tunes will make you want to grab your friends and a surfboard and head to the beach to catch some waves.

Dennen hopes to spread positivity through his lyrics, but Vance’s subject matter is more serious. “If you get out of this nightmare, then think to call me to tell me how somebody broke your heart, don’t try, I won’t be there,” he sings in “At Least My Heart was Open,” a track reminiscent of Mumford & Sons.

“When he writes a song, he really just wants to bare his soul completely,” Dennen says about Vance. “He’s much more of a romantic. He wears his passion out on his sleeve when he plays. He’s all about that soul.”

Much like the raw emotions Vance’s lyrics evoke, Vance says Dennen’s whimsical music reflects his own personality, too.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Foy Vance moved to the American South as a child where he developed his sound and perspective on folk music. Before touring with Brett Dennen, Vance has toured with Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran.

Vance says Dennen and his team have welcomed him onto the tour bus — an uncommon occurrence for opening acts, he says.

“This tour is very relaxed,” Vance says. “It’s all about the music, and it’s lovely to be around. He’s just a very big jolly soul. Very happy, very relaxed all the time.

It doesn’t feel like I’m really laboring on this tour, which it does often.”

Dennen shares similar praise for Vance and says that his tour mate would have his back in a bar fight.

“I’ve only known him for a little bit, and I can already tell he’s like a loyal brother,” Dennen says. “Once you get inside his heart, you’ll never get out.”

In the end, they are all about expressing themselves. “I think we’re both really true to ourselves,” Dennen says.

Both artists reveal a sense of honesty in their lyrics, one of the many reasons such a bromance has ensued on the road and on stage. Dennen and Vance vibe on different levels, but their music complements each other, Dennen says.

Although Dennen can’t promise CoMo a spontaneous Van Morrison cover, he says he hopes to do something with Vance at every show.

Even if Columbians aren’t lucky enough to witness an improvised collaboration, the two are ready to fill The Blue Note with their infectious vibes.

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