“Courage Teach Me To Be Shy”

When I was in Dublin with my friend Tracy a few years back we were walking down Grafton Street one night, on our way from the hotel to Temple Bar, Gogarty’s and beyond. We encountered a group of men busking, who instantly started singing us Britney Spears songs upon learning we were American. They were sweet, and among a number of really great people we met there. We remember it fondly, but I have to say, I would have rather been there for this:

Glen Hansard and Damien Rice are two of my favorite Irishmen — even if Rice is looking a bit like the Unabomber these days. I would have given them every dime I had. (I wonder how much money they made for charity that night?)

3 thoughts on ““Courage Teach Me To Be Shy”

  1. Simon says:

    That’s one of my favourite songs. I can’t listen to it just the once – I have to put it on repeat three or four times while I immerse myself in the full brilliance of it.

    As you’re in one of the former colonies, you may not be aware that Simon Cowell chose Cannonball as the song last year’s UK X Factor winners, ‘Little Mix’, would rip off in order to top the charts at Christmas. Thankfully, sense and good taste prevailed and the British public instead chose a heart-warming track sung by a collective of servicemen’s wives.
    I was unfortunate enough to hear the Little Mix version of Cannonball last week, as I was surfing the music channels. They produced it with an upbeat tempo, and the only extraordinary thing is that they managed to suck all of the honesty, depth and poetry right out of it.

  2. Simon says:

    It’s a funny thing about that.
    Damien Rice will, I’m sure, be getting P A I D for them using his record. I’m not ashamed (I am ashamed) to admit that I do watch the first few shows of the X Factor – mostly to laugh at the deluded people who sing even worse than I do, but also because, every now and then, you do get to witness the emergence of one or two genuine talents; before those talents are then ruined by Cowell’s hideous pop machine, and before those talents start getting their heads stuck up their…
    So, this year, a little 16 year old Irish girl called Janet Devlin came to audition. Wow. Really. Wow. She has the kind of voice that exists in another time and place, she’s beyond special.

    Anyway, my theory is that because early on she was heavily tipped to win, Cannonball would have suited her voice, and a serious case of blasphemy would have been avoided. But she didn’t win.
    Because of the X Factor format, she was forced to sing Abba songs and stuff like that, which is not where her strengths lie.

    If you get the time, check her out. Imagine her singing Cannonball. Okay, she’s more Sinead O’Connor than Damien Rice, but still.
    Before she was eliminated from the competition, she did come out of her shell a bit and it was clear she has her own vision of the kind of singer she wants to be. Right now, though, she’ll be tied down to Cowell’s management company as they milk the X Factor tour. I hope she breaks free.
    You’ll see what I mean.


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