David Hopkins
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David Hopkins

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"an inspired, original album"

Irish expatriate David Hopkins is a talented singer/songwriter who combines smart, bittersweet lyrics steeped in reality with a voice that conjures great contemporary rock singers. Amber & Green, his second full-length album, is Hopkins’ seminal recording.

David Hopkins, formerly of the Dublin prog-rock group LIR, has been bouncing around the music industry for some time. After moving to San Francisco, Hopkins became a keyboard session player and found himself in a band supporting the Who during the Quadrophenia tour. Nomadic in nature, Hopkins resided in several U.S. cities and virtually disappeared from the music scene, only to recently re-emerge and focus his energy on his own songwriting abilities.

Hopkins certainly has a penchant for songwriting. Unlike many artists, who conjure up surreal, dreamy love songs, Hopkins focuses on harsh realities and mixed emotions. Insinuating a no-bullshit attitude, Hopkins pens lyrics regarding death, depression, and dysfunctional relationships. In “Ginger Hair,” Hopkins croons about the public humiliation handed out by a lascivious, coquettish lover: “Ginger hair/she don’t care/she’ll make a fool of you when friends are there…Ginger hair, she’ll go far/by giving head to all the men in cars….” Hopkins also dares to write about touchy, taboo subjects, as seen in the story of an overbearing mother of a depressed teen in “Scared Rabbit.” The lyrics are especially poignant: “You sleep all day…can’t feel the heat of the sun…do shit that’s been done.” Even death gets the Hopkins treatment in “My Time Is Running Out.” Evoking a hopeless, restless soul, Hopkins writes: “I see black hawks hovering/I hear a soul shivering.” Not all the tracks on Amber & Green are morbid. In fact many offer hope, faith, and devotion as in the eponymous “Amber & Green” and the smart and witty “British Boys.”

It’s rare when an artist’s vocal style can evoke so many great contemporary rock singers. There are flashes of Thom Yorke in “Some Kind of Christian,” with Hopkins’ sustained, monotone drone on every other lyric. The chorus in “One Dark Morning” sounds similar to the subtle whining of Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. Even breathy offerings such as “Ginger Hair” and “You’ve Got to Suffer” evoke a hint of John Mayer. There’s a major difference, however, between emulation and evocation. Hopkins evokes these great artists, but he’s careful not to rip them off. It’s as if he takes the most recognizable vocal aspects of these singers, blends them together, and produces a unique, emulsified sound.

Amber & Green is certainly an inspired, original album. Snippets of new works can be found on Hopkins’ myspace page, and an album tentatively entitled Running With Knives is due to be released in 2007. These new songs have the same intelligent, lyrical quality found in many of the tracks on Amber & Green. If these new songs are any indication, David Hopkins will have a strong, guaranteed following for years to come. Cheers mate!
- www.cdreviews.com


"the most impressive Irish albums of the year"

With [Amber & Green} one of the more impressive Irish albums of the year to his credit, you'd think David Hopkins would be happy. But back in Ireland from his home in the States, he has a problem. People see him as a solo artist and have even begun to suggest he'll give Damien Rice a run for his singer-songwriter melancholy. "I don't come from that background," he stresses. "I got a guitar because I didn't want to lug keyboards around anymore. When I write a song, I think of a whole band. I much prefer that sound. I'm into Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin."

Hopkins was a member of local outfit LIR, a brash combo wilfully out of step with their times. A good band who probably got the wrong breaks. They moved to America and that's where Hopkins' story took a new twist. "We got signed straight out of school," David recalls. "We were 17 when we got a deal. They put money into us. It was great. We thought we were going to make it. "At one gig in the States, we had 37 record companies come to see us," he says with a wry laugh. "The management strategy was, 'Let them wait'. But we waited. And waited. And nothing happened. We had a great time for a couple of years but after that it was a struggle." Hopkins quit the band. Then he quit music.

"I wasn't into it", he confesses. "I sold all my equipment. I went to college in New York for a few months but then I moved to San Francisco. I needed to earn a few bob." After a few years, he bought a guitar and began writing new songs, some of which are still performed by acts around ~San Francisco where he lived for seven years before moving back to New York. He'd worked as a session-player, toured with The Who for six months and was eventually spotted by the management company which handles The Killers. As his album, Amber & Green, receives a critical thumbs up, Hopkins is putting a band together in Dublin, a town he barely recognised on his return. "It had totally changed, he says. "People had money. The prices are unbelievable. It's worse here than in the States. But the music scene here is great. It's buzzing with all these young bands and singer songwriters."

Meanwhile, the songwriting continues: "I probably write about a hundred songs a year," he reveals. As the word of mouth buzz builds on Amber and Green, Hopkins is planning to tour with his band around the end of October. Expect the gigs to be a sell-out.

- Irish Evening Herald


"Album of the Year"

Album of the Year * Hot Press - Hot Press


"reassuringly familiar and consistently surprising"

DAVID HOPKINS
Amber and Green Reekus Records
Like amber in the traffic light sequence, David Hopkins may urge caution where fools rush in, yet musically the one-time Lir keyboardist sounds anything but restrained. While these songs move with a trickling fatalism, watching perfectly unsurprised as relationships slide inexorably towards heartbreak (Somebody's Gonna Leave Somebody is a typical title), Hopkins's impressive sound is similarly wary of exclusive commitment. Through various styles, from country licks to jazzy turns and electronic textures, even his voice won't be tied down: a clenched sigh over the folk rock of You're Some Kind of Christian, a drifting Damien Rice on the unhurried title track, an accusatory Dylan in You've Got to Suffer. Often playing every instrument, Hopkins keeps the shape of his songs unpredictable yet his twists never become distracting, making Amber and Green both reassuringly familiar and consistently surprising. - Irish Times


Discography

Running with Knives, 2007
Scarred Rabbit EP
Amber & Green, 2005, Reekus Records
Merry Christmas My Love (Single), 2005, Reekus Records
One Dark Morning, 2003
Here Comes the Bright Light, 2001

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Bio

“a kick in the arse to a waning genre" - Pete Townsend

“Amazing songs, gorgeous" - Damien Rice

“heartbreaking, sincere and Beautiful" - Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons

"Amber and Green" - Hotpress Album of the Year

David Hopkins

Born and raised in Dublin Ireland, David shares his time between Europe and USA. Although he draws comparisons to his country mate Damien Rice, and other artists such as Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, David has sound that is unquestionably his own.

His songs tell in heartbreaking bittersweet precision and truth, stories of resignation, deceit and bitter sadness; but they can also purge the listener of these same demons.

David has shared the bill with the Who, Damien Rice, Ron Sexsmith, Jeff Buckley, Gavin Degraw and Ray Charles to name but a few. All are enthusiastic endorsers of his unique brand of songwriting.

His live performance is a profound experience that never fails to deliver whether it's solo, or with any of his ensembles, which can include on occasion a string quartet.

Fresh from the Studio, “Running with Knives” is his best material to date. Take the time to listen to it.

Look forward to David's tour this fall with Ron Sexsmith and for six of his songs to be featured in Paris Hilton's 2008 movie release entitled, "The Hottie and the Nottie."